Opinion


Regularising Unauthorised Colonies in Delhi: Well-Intended but Not Enough

By , and on April 13th 2021

A recent regularisation scheme promises to improve the tenure security of about 5 million Delhi residents. But how inclusive is the scheme and does it keep pace with the realities on the ground? Sukrit Nagpal, Smriti Singh and Sonal Sharma from SEWA Bharat take a critical look.

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‘I Don’t Have the Option to Rent a House’: How Migrant Workers Differ From the Urban Poor

By on April 6th 2021

While central and state governments have launched several housing policies over the years to promote ownership-based housing for the ‘urban poor’, the housing requirements of migrant workers remain neglected. The sudden announcement of a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020 led to an exodus of migrants from cities due to their inability to pay rents for rooms after losing their jobs. It is thus crucial to understand what housing means to migrants in cities, and how cities can be made more livable for migrant workers. This piece attempts to answer some of these questions through interviews of several migrant workers in the national capital region to understand their experiences and perspectives.

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The role of small promoters in Kolkata’s housing transformation

By on March 23rd 2021

Smaller buildings and stand-alone houses are a prominent category in the urban scape of Kolkata, where real estate has emerged as the one of the primary modes driving the urbanization process. While large residential complexes within and outside the municipal limit have dominated popular imagination due to the speculation involved in acquisition of larger lands for real estate, there has been less attention on single stand-alone buildings that are being converted to vertical housing in last decade or more. This trend has been driven by a combination of factors that include municipal interventions, the increasing desire of middle classes for vertical housing, and an active market for redevelopment of small plots.

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Challenges in the successful delivery of affordable housing: An on-ground perspective

By on March 16th 2021

Providing housing that is safe, affordable, and accessible creates vibrant communities around it and a more secure and just world for all. It also contributes to building resilient cities strong enough to withstand adverse environmental conditions and disasters. The COVID-19 induced pandemic has further put a premium on the importance of putting a roof above one’s head.

However, despite the potential and size of the Indian affordable housing market, not many developers have been able to successfully make a sustainable business case out of it. This article analyses the challenges and opportunities for smaller and local developers to expand their footprint in this market, and outlines a framework for its execution.

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Insights on rental practices in a mature sites and services resettlement site in Chennai

By on March 9th 2021

A major political question for governments around the globe is to determine which form of housing tenure – ownership or rental – would best fit their housing policy agenda. It is now well understood that both forms of tenure need to be taken into consideration as complementary and integral parts of urban housing markets. However, rental housing is not a distinct category, but an umbrella term which covers diverse manifestation of renting a home and various forms of supply. Based on fieldwork conducted in 2019, this piece explores the rental practices in Ambedkar Nagar, a 1990s sites and services scheme in Chennai, India in the context of recent changes in rental legislation in the state of Tamil Nadu where Chennai is located.

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Cities Divided: How Exclusion Of Muslims Sharpens Inequality

By and on March 2nd 2021

Discrimination in rental housing shapes our cities, demarcating what spaces are ‘open’ or ‘closed’ to some citizens. Interviewees told researchers of the Housing Discrimination Project that it makes Muslims feel safe only in some areas, unwelcome elsewhere.

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From a foundry-labourer in Moradabad to a foundry-owner in Mumbai

By on February 23rd 2021

This essay is the housing story of Ahmed (pseudonym) and his family, as it parallels housing-policy shifts in India, particularly in Mumbai. The timeframe for this story intersects with the three decades of economic liberalization and policy deregulation in India. As this personal trajectory unfolds in Dharavi, one of the biggest slums in Asia, it raises simultaneous questions and issues when linked to the social-housing evolution at the municipal and national scale. The story is broadly divided into three phases from 1990s to 2020, toggling between Ahmed’s personal journey and the political transformations occurring at different scales.

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Anxieties concerning housing among early migrants in Pune

By on February 17th 2021

Housing remains a central issue for migrants in urban India, particularly female migrants. In this historical study of internal labour migration between the late 1960s to early 1980s, the lack of proper housing facilities in Pune city emerges as a major cause of anxiety for a section of migrants from Kerala. A closer examination of their oral narratives reveals gendered constraints in their access to rental housing in an emerging urban space.

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Real Estate for Few

By on February 11th 2021

On 14 May 2020, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a “Rs 70,000 crore boost for the housing sector” in India by further extending the Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) for the Middle Income Group by one year, up to March 2021. This extension was announced as part of the second tranche of relief measures to boost the Indian economy under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. However, the announcement is only aimed at satisfying a temporary need of reviving the economy without being mindful of fulfilling the real objective of the PMAY – to provide ‘housing for all’.

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Reading the PMAY against past urban housing schemes

By on February 5th 2021

The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), launched in 2005, and the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), launched in 2015, have been some of the most significant interventions towards improved housing in recent times. A comparative look at their contribution to urban housing offers some clues about how policy is being shaped to respond to the emerging needs of Indian cities.

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