This paper describes the rapid economic growth in the city of Visakhapatnam which is now one of India’s largest ports and an important industrial town and seaside resort/retirement centre. It highlights how the city’s further growth is constrained by inadequate investment in infrastructure - especially for water and electricity - and discusses the political and institutional reasons for this. It then presents the findings of participatory research on poverty, and the many dimensions of poverty which are emphasized by urban poor groups, including inadequate incomes, lack of assets ("no shelter, no property, no gold"), lack of support (especially for widows, deserted women and the handicapped), illness and debt. It discusses the direct and indirect impacts on poverty of a DFID slum improvement project, showing which improvements low-income groups particularly appreciated. This demonstrated the importance of infrastructure and service provision to poverty reduction within a wider recognition that this is but one important aspect.
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