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Urban heads outnumber homes

With India's urban population expected to touch 328.5 million mark next year, the country will be faced with huge shortage of houses in its towns and cities, reports Hemendra Singh Bartwal.

india Updated: Dec 22, 2006 02:14 IST
Hemendra Singh Bartwal
Hemendra Singh Bartwal

Too many people and too few homes — the ratio is slightly askew. With India’s urban population expected to touch the 328.5-million mark next year, the country will be short of 24.71 million houses in towns and cities.

A study by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation says the economically weaker sections (EWS) and the lower income segment will face the bulk of the shortage.

The middle and higher income groups (MIG and HIG), armed with purchasing power, are, however, expected to be taken care of by “market forces” or, in other words — the private housing industry.

According to the Technical Group on Estimation of Urban Housing Shortage report, the highest requirement will be in the EWS category, which will require 21.78 million dwelling units, followed by the LIG segment with a requisition list of 2.89 million homes.

The combined requirement of MIG and HIG categories will be to the extent of .04 million housing units. The total number of urban households in the country in 2007 will touch the 66.30 million-mark, while the available housing stock will be 58.83 million units, the report estimates.

Chaired by Professor Amitabh Kundu, dean, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), the technical committee had various other experts as its members.

The estimates, drawn up on the basis of the latest 2001 Census and National Sample Survey (NSS) figures, reckoned that the total housing requirement in urban areas during the 11th Plan period will be around 26.53 million units.

An interesting facet of the report is that the growth of housing stock during the 1991-2001 decade was much less than the past two decades. “This might be due to limited withdrawal of public agencies like housing boards and development authorities from housing construction activities.”

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First Published: Dec 22, 2006 01:13 IST