Affordable housing in Bhubaneswar

Published on Oct 13, 2022 03:42 PM IST

This report has been authored by Shubhagato Dasgupta, Anindita Mukherjee, Baisakhi Sarkar Dhar

The Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) has embarked on the ambitious task of creating a roadmap for the production of 100,000 affordable housing units.
The Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) has embarked on the ambitious task of creating a roadmap for the production of 100,000 affordable housing units.
ByCPR

With approximately 23% of people in Odisha residing in slums in the capital city of Bhubaneswar, there is an estimated shortage of 80,000 housing units, specifically among low-income families. Intending to bridge this gap, the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) has embarked on the ambitious task of creating a roadmap for the production of 100,000 affordable housing units. As noted in previous policy documents of the government of Odisha (e.g., Policy for Housing for All in Urban Areas, Odisha, 2015), this has indeed been a missing link in the housing situation in Bhubaneswar. Most of the new housing created in the last years has been in the higher income group (HIG) and middle income group (MIG) categories, with very few projects catering to the needs of the lower income group (LIG) and economically weaker sections (EWS) categories. Since 2018, the government of Odisha has made rapid strides in slum land titling and upgradation through its flagship Jaga Mission, but the numbers of new houses created in the LIG and EWS categories have remained meagre. While Bhubaneswar Development Authority’s current efforts are well designed to deliver on the identified projects in the area, creating impact at scale and tackling slums in the city necessitated formulating a new strategy as laid out in this document.

In the lower-income segment, India’s affordable housing deficit garners very little formal private sector participation. Formal private players, which include developers and housing finance companies, tend to primarily target higher-income segments, resulting in sustained supply and fostering competition. Rapid urbanisation remains a significant contributor to the continuous demographic shift. The influx of population into urban areas is stimulated by the attraction of cities for employment opportunities, better standard of living, better educational facilities and infrastructure. However, this increasing population pressure results in the widespread existence of slums and sprawls. This problem only is intensified with an increasingly urban population where it is expected to reach about 600 million by 2031. Given this scenario, it becomes critical to fill the existing gaps in the country’s strained urban infrastructure and, in particular, housing. It would be important to address the need in the EWS and LIG, which currently account for 95.6% of urban housing shortage in the country. While efforts of the governments (both central and state) taken in the past are commendable, they need to be accelerated to eliminate the housing deficit in the country. Odisha, a low-income state in India with a population of over 43 million, has witnessed an annual urban growth of 27% per annum over the last decade. This rapid urbanisation has posed several challenges for the city, including an estimated shortage of 410,000 homes. This necessitates Odisha to design progressive initiatives with a large prospective of social impact, heightening a need for a long-term strategy and a futuristic blueprint. To ensure provisions of housing for all, the state government has notified amendments in Policy for Housing for All in Urban Areas, Odisha-2015, which prescribes mandatory development of EWS housing, incentives to be given to private developers, and government agencies in terms of FAR, norms for promotion of mixed-use development and relaxations in terms of various fees. In addition, the new rules also facilitated significant improvements in the affordable housing sector guided by exemptions and relaxations in the setbacks, approach road, parking, FAR restriction, and many other building norms to attract more and more investment in the housing sector. With all these and many more provisions in the new rules, the government wants to bring about a radical change in the real estate sector, which is expected to set in competition in the market and ensure investment in an unprecedented scale in the real estate sector in general and affordable housing in particular. With approximately 23% of people in the state residing in slums in the capital city of Bhubaneswar, there is an estimated shortage of 80,000 housing units, specifically among low-income families. Intending to bridge this gap, BDA has embarked on the ambitious task of creating a roadmap for the production of 100,000 affordable housing units. As noted in previous policy documents of the government of Odisha, this has indeed been a missing link in the housing situation in Bhubaneswar. Most of the new housing created in the last years has been in the HIG and MIG categories, with very few projects catering to the needs of the LIG and EWS categories. Since 2018, the government has made rapid strides in slum land titling and upgradation through its flagship Jaga Mission, but numbers of new houses created in the LIG and EWS categories have remained meagre. Against this background, with support from GIZ, India, the objective of this assignment was to devise a strategy for the implementation to achieve affordable housing for BDA under Odisha’s policy for Housing for All in Urban Areas, 2015, outlining the risks, challenges, and mechanisms to mitigate the same.

The report can be accessed by clicking here

This report has been authored by Shubhagato Dasgupta, Anindita Mukherjee, Baisakhi Sarkar Dhar

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