THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 16 January 2020 (Minimising the housing divide (The Hindu))

Minimising the housing divide (The Hindu)

Mains Paper 1: Society
Prelims level: Provision of Urban Amenities to Rural Areas
Mains level: Status of Housing in rural areas


  • Housing in rural areas has consistently suffered from various factors.

Status of Housing in rural areas:

  • Shortages in the supply of housing and a lack of redevelopment of collapsible or dilapidated units.
  • Dilapidated (in a state of disrepair or ruin as a result of age or neglect) units have contributed towards a high level of housing amenities deprivation, especially because they cannot safely be connected with electricity or solar energy, latrines, and drinking water, owing to associated structural risks.
  • Lack of meaningful market interventions, including supply of developed land and financing for housing.
  • Due to incompatibilities in supply and demand, millions of Indians dwell in unsecured housing.
  • This doesn’t mean that India never pursued effective poverty alleviation measures, but that the interventions it carried out have hardly worked in minimising urban-rural divides.

Way forward:

  • If India is to have a real chance to minimize the housing development divide, it requires an integrated housing development strategy for the rural context, to be implemented in “mission mode”. Such a mission should have,
  • A definite time frame.
  • Accountability in terms of implementing such a mission agenda on a continuous basis, with social audits at multiple levels of governance.
  • Realistic resource allocation is required given the cost of redevelopment and new housing units besides other development costs of drinking water supply, household latrines, energy, and drainage connectivity.
  • Penetration of the market, including the cooperative sector for the supply of critical inputs such as land and finances, is the need of the hour.
  • Public-private-partnership projects should be encouraged on public or government owned lands, with fiscal and other incentives.
  • Land owners should be encouraged to develop incentive-based affordable housing projects.
  • The people facing housing poverty must be made partners with whom micro finance and self-help groups could be tied in.


  • Menial occupation workers and low income earners being the most affected, development interventions must focus on rural and urban areas with due consideration for new construction and redevelopment of existing, life-threatening units.
  • Former President APJ Abdul Kalam had proposed the concept of Provision of Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA), which is a framework to mitigate the country’s socioeconomic problems and create a common development platform for rural and urban areas.
  • The objective of this goes beyond the mere creation of economic infrastructure and employment opportunities in rural areas which includes social infrastructure also.
  • To further this paradigm, access to good housing, including housing amenities, should become a priority.

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Prelims Questions:

Q1. With reference to the Kolkata port trust, consider the following statements:
1. The Port of Kolkata is a riverine port.
2. It is the oldest operating port in India, and was constructed by the British East India Company.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. All the above
D. None

Answer: C
Mains Questions:
Q1. India requires an integrated housing development strategy for the rural context. Comment.