From Slums to Neighbourhood: Housing Shortage and Self-Provisioning

Here is an excellent article by Gautam Bhan, Senior Consultant at IIHS, Bengaluru. Its recommendations are most pertinent to the present scenario in Telangana where the CM, K. Chandrashekhar Rao, is getting into pitched battles with universities and other government departments on the issue of land for constructing 2BHK houses.
Over several decades, the government and the market have failed miserably at ensuring anything close to housing for all. Throughout this period, the self-constructed slums have been the providers of housing. We cannot wish them away today as a problem. They must be a part of the solution.

We agree with Bhan that a policy in favour of ‘housing for all’ must include as a major component, the granting of legal rights to slum-dwellers and upgradation of services being provided to them. The GO 58 has resulted in the distribution of formal documents granting (restricted) legal rights to several poor slum-dwellers in Telangana cities, but such a scheme can only be successful in the impossible scenario where its spread will be universal. In reality, it has to be selective and several areas, and households within areas, get excluded. This partial regularization will do nothing to the informal markets where land with restricted, unclear or no titles are sold and leased, because this market is the only way in which a large number of people are actually able to find housing in cities. Nonetheless, its persistence makes way for newer irregularities and situations of illegality for the urban poor.

This raises the questions: What kind of legal rights? At what scale should the government approach the issue?


This post is just a brief commentary, reposted from our Facebook page.

Text and cover photo by Indivar Jonnalagadda.

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