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.
By Malay Kotal 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.
The Union Cabinet on June 2nd 2021 approved the Model Tenancy Act, 2021 (“MTA”) for circulation to all the States and Union Territories. This piece examines whether the MTA delivers in letter what it intends to achieve in spirit, especially at a time when the importance of rental housing markets has been explicitly recognised as a key component of affordable housing policy, with the introduction of the Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC) scheme in May 2020. It finds that the MTA, while a good first step, has many shortcomings that will inhibit the achievement of its objectives.
Affordable housing in Chennai means a unit costing between ₹ 8 and 20 lakh (₹8-10.2 lakh for EWS and ₹16-20 lakh for LIG households), based on the Deepak Parekh Committee’s definition of affordability. In practice, however, state agencies as well as private builders define affordable housing by size, referring to units of 300 to 600 square feet. This approach has contributed to making most “affordable” housing produced in the city unaffordable to EWS and LIG households.
By Shamindra Nath Roy on April 16th 2021
This is the second in a series of data tales that looks into the India Human Development Survey (IHDS) panel dataset (2005-06 and 2011-12) to portray certain trends on the nature and profile of house ownership, renting and purchase in urban India. This part looks into the variation in the ownership of new houses based on size of houses and size of the households, to get an idea about which segment of the housing market has become more preferable than others over time.
By Malay Kotal 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.
By Varun Fatehpuria 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.
By Rohit Lahoti 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.
By Goutham Raj Konda 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’.
By Kanhu on February 9th 2021
Owning a house is a dream shared by many Indians. This dream is mediated by several realities, including social status. What does it mean to own a house for members of the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs), historically marginalised sections of society?