Housing Problems in India Past and Current Strategies and the Need for a New Blueprint

Housing Problems in IndiaPast and Current Strategies and the Need for a New Blueprint 

India’s housing strategy should not be confined to merely creating affordable housing stock to tackle the shortage, as such an approach is myopic. Instead, a sound housing strategy must be informed by an adequate understanding of the multiple facets of housing poverty, including the factors that are responsible for the proliferation of slums. The blueprint offered in this paper understands an effective housing scheme as a means to correct market distortions and other anomalies that upset the incentive structure underlying the affordable housing segment in the country. 

Even as India is the fastest growing economy in the world today—with a 1 growth rate of 8.2 percent in the first quarter of 2018-2019 –63.67 million urban and rural households across India do not have adequate 2 housing. This massive number is cause for concern. The ‘Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000’ declared by the United Nations 3 General Assembly in December 1988, defined “adequate housing” as “adequate privacy, adequate space, adequate security, adequate lighting and ventilation, adequate basic infrastructure, and adequate location 4 with regard to work and basic facilities-all at a reasonable cost.”

In India, the 2012 report of the Technical Group on Urban Housing Shortage for the 12th Plan (TG-12)—set up by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation to estimate the urban housing shortage in the country for 2012-2017—pegged the total number of households 5 without “decent” housing in cities at 18.78 million (See Table 1). This number reflects an aggregate of those who live in non-liveable, temporary, overcrowded, and dilapidated homes: those who live in unacceptable conditions as well as those who are homeless. This, 6 therefore, is the face of “housing poverty” in urban India.

We’ve grown up studying in our social science classes in childhood, that a man needs three basic amenities to survive in this world: Food, Clothing, and Shelter; shelter being the topic under the light today. Well, shelter then, in the time of apes, housing now, in the current concrete era. India, still on the list of underdeveloped countries in the world, according to the 2011 census, still needs 18.78 million houses in India. 0.15 percent of the total population is homeless. We’ve all seen both the faces of our country’s housing conditions in an exaggerated and bright condition, thanks to Bollywood, especially, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. The rare reality and promising future of our country.The real nightmare, 0.15% of our population faces. Delhi has the highest number of homeless in our country, followed by Chennai.

Along with food and clothes, housing or a shelter is one of the three most important requirements of Human beings. If the total population of about 1200 million population is divided by 5, the average number of members in a family, the country requires housing for 240 million families. Of this, 2.4 million around 30% are either house-less or live in thatched collage or houses made of trees and plants life in bamboo and mud houses.

A good home provides protection. Children are less at risk of violence and sexual abuse. They are less likely to be forced into child labor, married off at a young age or forcibly recruited by armed groups. A home ensures that displaced people have better access to humanitarian aid. As the Indian middle class expands, the demand for affordable housing is likely to increase even further. Consequently, the potential market size for affordable housing in urban India is forecasted to grow about 1.5 times from an estimated 25 million households in 2010 to 38 million in 2030.

Housing 'need' is an indicator of existing deficit: the number of households that do not have access to accommodation that meets certain normative standards. This measure mainly refers to the level of need for more or improved social housing.

India's urban housing shortage is more a result of congestion, lack of tenure security, and inadequate basic services in existing informal housing, rather than the lack of material housing structures itself. Over the years, various schemes have been implemented by a succession of governments to address this shortage.

This is due to the fact that many people want to move from rural to urban areas. In turn, this leads to increasing demand for housing in cities. With a constant supply of housing, housing prices in cities increase, and many people are no longer able to afford rent.

The requirement of house building is a massive program and the Indian Government is aware of it but cannot do much about it because of the following reasons:-

Lack of investment and funds.
Lack of building materials like red bricks, timber, steel sections, flats, angles, rods, etc. as well as glass, tiles, sanitary-wares and cement and sand, as well as lime, and plaster.

Lack of a definite housing program.
Non-availability of low-cost housing ideas to be built for village and rural areas.

The problems of housing are most acute among the lower-middle class and the villages. The various housing estates made by private promoters, joint ventures (PPP), and small private contractors are very few compared to the huge population, particularly in rural areas where people require houses but they do not have either the finance or the other resources of materials.

The solution to the housing problem is quite involved and difficult if not impossible. But however, the following concepts can be attempted:

1. Large Brick Making Program: A large brick-making program involves the setting up of about 100 giant-size mechanized brick-making plants each producing 100,000 to 200,000 bricks per day in various parts of the country, with approximately 4 such plants in each state.

2. Low-cost Cement Plants: The second program required is for cement making along with surkhi and lime are required for conventional construction of buildings as well as a new type of brick or block making Blocks like lime-concrete, Aerated concrete, foam concrete are new concepts of brick making where clay is not available. Cement for low-cost housing can be made in small plants using VSK (Vertical Shaft Kilns).

3. Set up Large-Size Float Glass Plants: Glass sheets can be made in existing or new glass plants to be set up specifically for building and housing projects. Though there are automatic or semiautomatic glass plants in India both in container and tube and bulb-making sectors, the number of sheet and plate glass plants is only a few. All efforts to set up large-size Float glass plants have not yet been fully successful in India. More efforts should be made to either manufacture Float glass in India on a very large scale or partly substitute it with imported glass sheets at a cheaper rate from China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and other South- East Asian countries.

4. Modernization of Mud Houses: For rural and cheap housing several authorities should set up modernizing mud housing partly replacing with brick walls with roofs made of clay tiles, Asbestos, and corrugated galvanized iron sheets.

Thus a huge and massive Housing program should be made by the central Government along with all state Governments so that by 2050 all people can have some sort of housing and may not stay in dilapidated, thatched, straw-made, bamboo made, made of leaves & bamboo. The people in slum areas and footpaths should also be brought under some sort of housing scheme so that India can as a whole ensure that none of the people is houseless in this country.

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