Opinion


The economics of developing affordable rental housing complexes

By on September 7th 2021

As a response to the COVID-19 migrant crisis and in furtherance of the Government of India’s ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ mission, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs announced the Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC) programme under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana scheme to improve the living conditions of urban poor/migrant workers. Although the initiative is a novel step, it operational aspects demand more than what is being offered for enabling private/public agencies to leverage the opportunity and turn it into a grand scale programmatic intervention.  

Read More

Housing is a welfare weapon: it can help people escape poverty

By on August 31st 2021

Governments have come up with several schemes to address the housing deficit for low-income households, including the construction and sale of public housing at subsidised prices, which are then allocated to applicants by lottery. This piece presents the findings of a recent study of 834 total winners and non-winners of such lotteries run by the Maharashtra Housing And Development Authority in Mumbai. The study finds large differences between winners and non-winners three to five years after the lotteries were held. It finds that the provision of this housing, as an asset, changed the lives of beneficiaries positively, and identifies the lack of involuntary displacement as a key component to this change.

Read More

Addressing information asymmetries to enable housing coproduction: Q&A with Rohit Lahoti and Sayali Marawar

By on August 24th 2021

The role of access to information in empowering the poor is well-acknowledged in India and reinforced by the experience of the Right to Information Act, 2005. However, information asymmetries continue to hamper the ability of the poor to make informed decisions about their future. A new online resource seeks to address this gap in the context of housing. The IHR team speaks to the founders about their motivations, challenges and aspirations for this platform.

Read More

India’s home rental programme for migrant workers needs more nuance and ambition

By on August 17th 2021

The affordable housing rental complex (AHRC) scheme acknowledges the needs of mobile workers who spend short periods of time in the city and do not seek permanent housing. Applying what we know about migrant work and the development sector will help India to realise AHRC’s potential.

Read More

Facilitating housing finance for those with unclear titles

By on August 10th 2021

A report on IHR’s first webinar on Friday, 30th July on housing finance access to those with unclear titles. With experience across rural and urban contexts, the panel discussion revealed the complexities of the issue and highlighted potential directions for intervention.

Read More

Visual storytelling as evidence: How the Missing Basti Project is helping us talk about housing evictions in Delhi

By on July 22nd 2021

The poor in India’s cities have endured evictions and demolitions of their homes and settlements for decades now. While long legal and political battles have sometimes resulted in a modicum of justice through rehabilitation of affected households, demolitions themselves are irreversible acts that forever destroy a settlement and transform the area. initiatives like the Missing Basti Project (MBP) seek to document these erasures by utilising the power of the Internet to create an archive of material memory.

Read More

Why are the struggles of India’s urban poor fragmented?

By on July 13th 2021

India witnesses a massive crisis in housing with 95.62% (2012) of this shortfall felt by economically weaker sections and low income groups. Yet we do not see these groups mobilising together to force the government to respond to their needs. In cities such as Mumbai where the majority of the population lives in poor housing, we still do not see a mass mobilisation or social movement to push the government into action. Why don’t the urban poor come together when social movements have proved effective in enabling change in policies? This piece answers this question, drawing from a longitudinal ethnography of struggles for rehabilitation housing in Bangalore.

Read More

Landlord-tenant dynamism in Kapashera urban village, Delhi

By and on July 6th 2021

While the power of asset-owning landlords in rural India is well-understood, less attention has been paid to the same in urban areas. Examining Kapashera, a low-middle income settlement in Delhi, this article outlines the housing typologies and dynamism in landlord-tenant relations that relegated working class migrants to exploitative housing experiences.

Read More

Why the Haryana Govt Must Not Evict One Lakh Residents of Khori Gaon

By and on June 29th 2021

On June 7, Supreme Court reiterated its order of February and April 2020 to evict the Khori Gaon basti on the Delhi-Haryana border, falling within the Faridabad Municipal Corporation (FMC) jurisdiction. The Court concluded that this basti is an encroachment on the Aravalli forest land and so deemed it fit to order the municipal corporation to undertake evictions using force if needed. The residents have been given a few days to collect their belongings and leave before the demolition squad comes to vacate these lands. The demolitions of over 6,500 homes are scheduled to take place just when the monsoon arrives and we are still in a pandemic where most of the population is not vaccinated. This is great injustice to bring upon anyone during a pandemic. The urgency shown in demolishing the houses of the poor is therefore unjustified.

Read More

Land vs. housing: how effective are tenurial measures to house the urban poor?

By on June 16th 2021

Access to land in Indian cities is a major challenge for the urban poor due to the complexity of land tenure, scarcity of land, speculative land prices, and lack of political will. As a result, a majority of them are forced to live in informal settlements without having secure tenure, facing continuous threats of eviction and demolition, which puts them in an unending vicious cycle of poverty. Creation of new housing stock under different housing schemes has been the dominant strategy to address the housing shortage, but remains ineffectual on account of being a time consuming and capital intensive process. The other way to address the problem was to regularize and upgrade the existing housing stock occupied by poor groups. Over the years, state governments have introduced various tenurial measures to address this conundrum of housing and land. This article attempts a nuanced understanding of the effectiveness of these tenurial measures in augmenting and improving the urban poor housing scenario.

Read More