Cities are engines of economic growth and innovation. Urban Indians now form about one-third of the population – and they produce more than three-fifths of the country’s GDP. Housing is an important sector for the Indian economy as it has inter-linkages with nearly 269 other industries. The development of the housing sector has a direct impact on employment generation, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth and consumption pattern in the economy.

Housing has been placed at the center of the New Urban Agenda of Habitat III, 2016. Sustainable and disaster resilient housing have been recognized as an important lever in meeting the commitments towards the Sendai Framework (2015) and Paris Agreement on Climate Change (2016). Goal 11 of Sustainable Development Goals aims to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. India too has acknowledged the importance of housing in improving the socio-economic conditions of the people and accordingly launched the Mission of Housing for all by 2022.

Housing Scenario and Challenges

According to the Technical Group on Urban Housing Shortage, 2012-17 (TG-12) constituted by erstwhile the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, there is a shortage of 18.78 million housing units. Of these, the economically weaker section (EWS) alone accounts for 10.55 million units or 56.2 per cent of the total shortage. The low income group (LIG) require 7.41 million housing units or 39.4 percent whereas middle and above income group have a deficit of 0.82 million or 4.4 percent.

Ten states together contribute to 76 percent of the urban housing shortage. These states are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat (TG 12, 2012)

While TG 12 report highlights a housing deficit of 18.78 million, 11.07 million houses were vacant in 2011 in urban India as per the Census of India. This brings to the forefront a mismatch in demand and supply in the housing market. Also, the housing surplus is in higher income groups while 95 percent of the deficit is in the EWS and LIG categories. Further, projections indicate that India’s urban population which registered and annual growth rate of 2.76 in 2011 is estimated to grow to 814 million people by the year 2050.

High land prices force the poor to live in slums and squatter settlements or to occupy the lands in the periphery of the city. This results in the haphazard and unplanned development. Scarcity of developed and encumbrance-free land, increased cost of constriction, lack of private sector participation, absence of viable rental market, inaccessibility to home loans by poor are some of the challenges which need to be addressed for development of the affordable housing market.

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Government Initiatives

Since independence, the Government of India has adopted a number of policies and programmes to house the poor. These include Integrated Subsidized Housing Scheme (1952) for industrial workers and economically weaker section; Low income group housing scheme (1956); Slum Improvement/Clearance Scheme (initiated in 1956 and discontinued in 1972 at a national level); Environment improvement of Urban Slums (1972); National Slum Development Programme (1996); Scheme for Housing and Shelter Upgradation (SHASHU as part of Nehru Rozgar Yojana, introduced in 1998 and discontinued in 1997); Night Shelter (1988-89). Two Million Housing Porgrammes, VAMBAY (Valmiki Ambedkar Awas Yojana (Launched in 2001-02); JnNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission) – Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY); Rajiv RinnYojana (RRY) and the latest Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Urban (PMAY-U). In addition, various ministries have had their own programmes targeted towards their area of work. The cumulative impact of earlier initiatives has been limited, as there has been a continuous proliferation of slums.

The first national Housing policy was announced in 1988. A revised policy came into existence in 1994 with the change in central government. A new Housing and Habitat Policy was announced in 1998 with greater emphasis on the aspect of ‘Habitat’ as a supplementary focus to housing. The policy envisaged some major landmark initiatives such as repeal of Urban Land Ceiling and Regulation Act (ULCRA) and increased Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in real estate. The new policy was announced in 2007 as ‘National Urban Housing and Habitat Policy’. This policy sought to promote various types of public-private partnerships for achieving the goal of ‘Affordable Housing for all’.
Recognizing the need for greater private sector participation, the government has also drafted a National Public Private Partnership Policy. The policy sets out the principles for implementing a large number of projects across diverse segments through private sector.

New Urban Housing Mission

In June 2015, Hon’ble Prime Minister launched the Pradhan mantra Awas Yojana – Urban (PMAY-U) to provide housing for all by 2022. The scheme provides central assistance toUrban Local Bodies (ULBs) and other implementing agencies through States/UTs. The programme has 4 verticals; the Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) and the other three centrally sponsored schemes namely, in-situ rehabilitation of existing slum dwellers using land as a resource through private participation; affordable housing in partnership; and subsidy for beneficiary-led individual house construction/enhancement.

The process of project formulation and approval in accordance with mission guidelines has been left to the states, so that projects can be formulated, approved and implemented faster.
Under in-situ slum redevelopment (ISSR), the private developers are given land and incentive to monetize the part of the demarcated land to build housing stock for the low income households especially slum dwellers. Along with redevelopment and rehabilitation of the slum, the private developer is responsible for providing and interim accommodation to beneficiaries during implementation of the scheme and on completion of the scheme.

Under Credit Linked Subsity Scheme (CLSS), initially the weaker sections were given subsidy on home loans. In 2017, the scope of CLSS was widened for a year to include the MIG segment as well. However, their rate of interest subsidy was limited to 3 to 4 percent depending on the amount of loan. These loans are availed for new construction or addition of rooms.

Convergence of Mission

The integration of urban schemes help the cities to upgrade themselves faster in terms of meeting the housing demand equipped with necessary infrastructure, both social and physical.
Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) endeavors to provide every household access to supply of water and sewerage connection, improving open spaces and reduce pollution through mobility solutions, thereby providing the basic infrastructure to housing. Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) aims to eliminate open defecation, eradicate manual scavenging and incorporate modern and scientific Municipal Solid Waste Management.


Capacity building for all players at different levels in an important pre-requisite to achieve the national resolve to provide housing for all by 2022. Good practices and performances in implementation of the mission need to be disseminated among various stakeholders. States have an important role to play in this as ‘housing and urban development’ is a state subject under the constitution.

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Courtesy: Yojana