The Basic Services for the Urban Poor (BSUP) sub-Mission of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) sought to address the needs of some of the lowest-income and most vulnerable urban dwellers in Indian cities. The promise was that these residents would receive ‘a garland of 7 entitlements’ – security of tenure, affordable housing, water, sanitation, health, education and social security in low-income settlements in the 63 Mission cities. We researched the outcomes of the BSUP in five Indian cities (Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Patna, Pune and Visakhapatnam), which were selected because of their diversity. They presented a wide range of socio-economic contexts and economic development and also differed in the nature and extent of civil society involvement in BSUP programming.