Brief notes on housing problems in India

Different Facets of Housing Problems

With population explosion, the problem of housing has become more serious. Proper housing is must as it catapults the productivity of labour and it is also a basic human right.

The Government policy of housing has been more or less passive throughout the 50 years since Independence because of resource constraint.

In 1960, National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) incorporated as a Public Sector Undertaking was set up. In 1969, National Co-operative Housing Federation of India was set up.

In 1970, HUDCO was set up as a fully owned Government Company In 1976; National Institute of Urban Affairs was set up. In 1985, National Capital Region Planning Board was constituted. In 1996, National Slum Development Programme (NSDP) launched. In 1997, the Union Cabinet approved the Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rojgar Yojana.

A new Housing and Habitat Policy 1998 has been approved and laid before the Parliament on 29 July, 1998. Its objective is to create surpluses in housing stock and facilitate construction of 2 million additional dwelling units each year in pursuance of National Agenda for Governance.

Under the new economic reforms, there is a scheme of Infrastructure Development in mega cities i.e., Mumbai, Chennai, Calcutta, Hyderabad and Bangalore in operation from 1993-94.

The Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act came into force in 1976 to provide equitable distribution of land in order to subserve the common good. The Urban Land (C&R) Repeal Bill, 1998 was introduced on 11 June 1998.

In National Housing and Habital Policy 1998, the government decided to repeal the Act through an Ordinance and the Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Repeal Ordinance, 1999 was accordingly notified on 11 January, 1999.

Accelerated Urban Water Supply Programme was launched midway during the Eighth Plan period in March 1994 to provide safe and adequate water supply facilities to the entire population of towns having population less than 20,000 (as per 1991 census) in the country.

Different Schemes for Housing Development

The Urban Mapping Scheme was taken up as a pilot project during the Eighth Five Year Plan for covering 50 towns from different states. The executive Agency for the project the National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) has completed aerial photography for all the towns and they have furnished photographs and aerial maps for all the towns except three towns.

Low-Cost Sanitation for Liberation of Scavengers

It is centrally sponsored scheme which is under Min­istry of Urban Development since 1989-90.

The Scheme of Integrated Development of Small and Medium Towns (IDSMT) aims at the development of selected regional growth centres with infrastructure and service facilities. From the inception of the scheme till 31 March 1999, 945 towns in 25 States and five Union Territories have been covered and central assistance amount­ing to Rs 345.30 crore released. The Plan allocation for the Scheme is Rs 50 crore for 1999-2000.

Ninth Plan and Housing

Ninth Plan will focus special attention on households at the lower end of the housing market, the priority groups identified for such support, such as, for example, people below poverty line, SC/ST, disabled etc. Minimum housing adequacy norms will be entrusted to the states and it is under a decentralized structure, tie responsibility will be passed on to the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).

India has made a commitment to the approach of sustainability of rural and urban housing of poor, interdepency between shelter and Income-Upgradation etc. in the NHP (National Housing Policy) and the Habitat II National Plan of Action (NPA). To promote this strategy, Ninth-Plan will support the use of composite credit instru­ment, modify land use pattern and city master plans and strengthen the linkages between the farm and the non-farm sectors in the rural and semi-urban areas.

The physical targets under SAP are seven lakh addi­tional dwelling units in between 1997-2002.