Opinion


Re-gendering open spaces for leisure, one terrace at a time

By and on January 20th 2022

Adequate housing is not just houses, but ensuring safe, liveable and inclusive neighbourhoods for all. Art and culture are an integral part of this process. ‘Fursat ki Fizayen’, a socially engaged art project encouraging women’s participation in public space, offers insights into how young women from peri-urban areas exercise their ‘right to the city’ with a focus on spaces and stories of leisure. Based in Madanpur Khadar – an under-resourced, poorly serviced resettlement colony in Delhi with a predominantly working class population – the project is an example of how socially engaged art creates openings that commercial practice does not, and has the potential to reconfigure residential communities towards inclusion.

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Migrant worker housing needs action-oriented policies

By , and on January 13th 2022

Though shelter is a basic human need, migrant workers live in extremely precarious conditions. Covid-19 highlights the need for multiple efforts and action-oriented policies to increase the supply of affordable rental housing as well as develop social rental housing for this vulnerable and economically salient segment.

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A Churlish Policy

By on December 6th 2021

In October 2021, the Tamilnadu government released its first-ever draft “Resettlement and Rehabilitation Policy” for public comment.  While long-awaited, the policy is also premature. It is not anchored in a comprehensive housing and habitat policy that defines a framework for affordable housing, slum clearance, and land use in which the relocation of slum dwellers to remote peripheries is specified as a last-ditch option. Instead of leveraging Chennai and Tamilnadu’s rich history of implementing innovative and inclusionary models of slum rehabilitation and affordable housing, the policy implicitly clings to the tired and discredited model of mass peripheral resettlement and threatens to perpetuate it further.

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Struggles of low-income households at the cusp of informal-formal housing finance

By and on October 26th 2021

This article attempts to capture the story of an informally employed low-income household who, with the help of informal financial agents, successfully navigated the informal-formal space of housing finance to buy the house of their choice. The article starts with contextualising the accessibility and affordability constraints for housing finance faced by low-income households. Following this, we discuss a case study of an informally employed home loan borrower, explaining the negotiations playing at the cusp of the informal-formal. Lastly, we deliberate upon the roles of lending institutions, specifically during the COVID-19 crisis and the financial recovery of the home loan industry.

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One Year of the ARHC Scheme: State of Play

By and on October 13th 2021

In July 2020, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India, announced the Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC) scheme, as a sub-scheme of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana—Urban (PMAY-U). ARHC aims to address the housing needs of the urban poor and migrants through rental housing, brought to national attention by the reverse migration triggered by the COVID pandemic-induced lock-down. The ARHC scheme is co-terminus with the PMAY-U mission period, that is, March 2022. With a few months left to call for bids and award projects, this piece assesses the state of play in the scheme’s implementation—its emerging modalities, stakeholder engagement and current status—given its importance as India’s first national rental housing scheme.

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Bridging the gap between housing finance companies and customers: Q&A with Ganesh Shankar, Homehub

By on September 30th 2021

This is the second post in a series on the India Housing Report focusing on digital technology and tech entrepreneurship in housing, where we try and examine what motivates entrepreneurs in this area, the challenges and potential of using digital solutions, and whether India is ready for such innovative products in the informal housing market. In this piece, we interview Ganesh Shankar, Co-Founder of Homehub, about their product and services.

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Tech for risk reduction and quality improvement in self-built housing: Q&A with Marco Ferrario, mHS Global Impact

By on September 22nd 2021

Digital technology and tech entrepreneurship in housing is rapidly evolving in the Indian context, especially around the affordable housing segment. This is the first post in a series on the India Housing Report focusing on this space, where we try and examine what motivates entrepreneurs in this area, the challenges and potential of using digital solutions, and whether India is ready for such innovative products in the informal housing market.

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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.  

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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.

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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.

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