Saturday, September 22, 2012

Kumari Selja Releases Urban Housing Shortage (2012-17) Report

A Technical Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. Amitabh Kundu, Professor of Economicsim JNU was set up by Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation to estimate the Urban Housing Shortage for the 12th Five Year (2012-17). The Committee submitted its final Report to the Kumari Selja, Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation and Minister of Culture here today. The highlights of the Report are as follows:
          The housing shortage has been estimated by putting together (a) the number of households residing in unacceptable dwelling units - computed by considering the obsolescence factor, (b) those residing in unacceptable physical and social conditions -worked out using overcrowding/congestion factor, and (c) the houseless households.
          Housing shortage would not be a major problem if there is no mismatch between the people for whom the houses are being built and those who need them. Indeed, if the newly built houses were available to the houseless, squatters, slum dwellers and those living in extremely congested conditions, the shortage would be small. It would, however, be unrealistic to assume that the houseless HHs and those living in unacceptable conditions - in other words, those who could be described as in “Housing Poverty” - would have the affordability and access to the burgeoning supply in the market. The rapid increase in the number of vacant houses, the fierce competition among the private builders and aggressive advertisements to woo the prospective buyers, clearly underline the mismatch. Almost all the buyers of the new housing stock already live in acceptable dwelling units and either plan shifting from rented to self owned houses or are only attempting to improve their living conditions by going to a bigger house. There will be a few among them who would be buying for owning a second house, for future/occasional occupancy, rental earning or for pure speculative reasons. On the other hand, those in ‘Housing Poverty’ mostly do not have the means to enter the housing market to claim ownership or acquire rental housing.      
          The Technical Group has estimated that at the start of the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17), the total housing shortage in the country is 18.78 million. The below table exhibits the components that contribute toward the estimated urban housing shortage at the start of the 12th Five Year Plan, as of March 2012:

Requirement/ Shortage (in Mn)
Households living in non-serviceable katcha
Households living in obsolescent houses
Households living in congested houses requiring new houses
Households in homeless condition

The earlier concern regarding a mis-match between the people from whom the houses are being built and those who need them is clearly underlined in the following distribution of the estimated shortage across different economic categories. It exhibits that the maximum shortage exists for the EWS/LIG Section of society whose need is unable to get translated into demand due to issues of affordability.
Economic Category %
Distribution of 2012  Housing shortage among Economic categories (in Millions)
56.2 (EWS)
39.5 (LIG)
4.3 (MIG +)


Kumari Selja while unveiling the Urban Housing Shortage figures of All India and State level have said that to reduce this gap in demand and supply of housing, Centre State/ULBs and the real state sector should work in tandem and built  a low cost affordable housing.
          The report further recognizes that eliminating housing shortage during the period of the Twelfth Five Year Plan, over and above maintaining the current rate of construction, will be a challenging task, even with full involvement and cooperation of private sector and builder’s lobby. It is, therefore, proposed to meet this challenge through alternate and complementary strategies;  

Ø Housing to be made a part of infrastructure sector or declared to be an industry, so that it is possible to incentivise the construction activities to deliver an appropriate mix of dwelling units to meet the needs of the people in housing poverty

Ø Bring in the vacant houses into the housing market through taxation and incentive policies

Ø Households that have the problem of congestion must be enabled to create extra space or build extra rooms through support from public agencies

Ø Shifting the households living in houses built before 80 years to new units.

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