SEATTLE — By 2022, the Indian government hopes to reach a lofty target: tackle the country’s housing shortage in just seven years of construction. The Housing For All, or Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, initiative is ramping up its efforts in the hopes of making housing for all in India into a reality.
What exactly does the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) mission entail? Prime Minister Narendra Modi explains that “by the time the nation completes 75 years of its independence in 2022, there should not be any single family without … a house.” This means 20 million new homes are needed to address the country’s massive housing shortage.
Loan subsidies and space allotments are dispersed based on the beneficiary’s economic standing, with preference given to low-income families. The funding for so many new houses will come from both public and private sources.
Families will be provided with a pucca house with basic amenities. Families registering for housing subsidies are required to use the female head of house’s name on legal documents, even when married to a male head of household. As the Economic Times of India explains, this provides opportunities to many poor women living in rural areas of the country.
PMAY strives to use environmentally-friendly infrastructure during the building process, and building disaster-resistant houses to protect against climate-driven threats.
Using private investments, the housing initiative plans to rehabilitate the infamous urban slums in India, home to an estimated 64 million people. Slums are linked to poor sanitation, poverty and other preventable inequities in the country.
However, there are many barriers to affordable housing in India. Land is scarce and property records have frequently been poorly-maintained, making it difficult to move forward. Ultimately, the housing shortage in India is complicated: an estimated 10 million homes stand strong and unoccupied, despite the housing crisis. The BBC posits that these homes are mostly investments gone awry or efforts at tax evasion.
These and other factors mean that housing for all in India is an uphill battle. Although homes are being built, at this rate the government is not on track to reach housing for all by 2022.
Nonetheless, PMAY has not given up its mission to fight the housing shortage in India, and some remain positive about its prospects. A real estate article in the Hindustan Times claims that because of the initiative, “affordable homes could finally be within [urban Indians’]reach.” Others explain that the drive for affordable housing is creating jobs in the country.
Other more concrete developments are taking place. Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, announced on Aug. 10, 2017 that he plans to use the PMAY mission to challenge homelessness in the state. The plan involves funding for 200,000 houses in urban parts of Uttar Pradesh and one million in rural areas.
The housing scheme is one of many long-term initiatives that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration is leading. Similar to PMAY, the Swachh Bharat movement plans to tackle sanitation in the country, an issue that stands alongside housing in scale. The initiative is just one year older than PMAY, set to end in 2019.
Despite the challenges, housing for all in India is still a possibility. Implementing housing for all by 2022 may be difficult, but already some families are setting foot in their first ever homes.
– Cleo Krejci