Notes on the fourth panel dis­cus­sion

Domus - - CONFETTI -

(Gau­tam Chat­ter­jee, Vidyad­har Phatak and Pranay Vakil; mod­er­ated by Rahul Mehro­tra)

The fi­nal panel dis­cus­sion sum­marised the two­day-long sem­i­nar in the fol­low­ing broad themes:

1. The im­por­tance of a good Devel­op­ment

Plan and how hous­ing and ur­ban­i­sa­tion as pro­cesses are closely linked to each other and can­not be iso­lated.

2. The trin­ity of mo­bil­ity which in­cludes ac­cess, liveli­hood, and land, is in­trin­sic to the ques­tion of hous­ing. We have seem­ingly dis­re­garded the con­nec­tion be­tween land mar­kets, labour mar­kets and trans­porta­tion.

3. There are many in­ter­est­ing is­sues at a macro level that af­fect hous­ing, such as em­ploy­ment and labour mar­kets and im­pli­ca­tions of ge­og­ra­phy on hous­ing so­lu­tions. The fun­da­men­tal chal­lenge across most parts of In­dia is how to get peo­ple out of agri­cul­ture into other ac­tiv­i­ties, and where would such ac­tiv­i­ties evolve; in the vil­lages or in small towns or in metropoli­tan cen­tres. But given the econ­omy of scales of In­dian cities, there is a very strong drive to mi­grate to larger metropoli­tan cen­tres, or at least cities with pop­u­la­tions of more than a mil­lion. These con­di­tions need to be ad­dressed while dis­cussing hous­ing in the coun­try.

4. Land is an as­set; it has an op­por­tu­nity cost. If one re­ally wants to deal with the prob­lem of the hous­ing of the poor in the cities, state in­ter­ven­tion in mat­ters con­cern­ing the land is in­evitable. Pub­lic in­ter­ven­tion is also im­por­tant for build­ing and ex­tend­ing the in­fra­struc­ture. If there is an op­por­tu­nity to ex­pand the sup­ply of land in terms of ex­tend­ing in­fra­struc­ture, then half the bat­tle is won. This is an es­sen­tial fea­ture of the sites and ser­vices ap­proach, where one in­ter­venes in land and in­fra­struc­ture and lets con­struc­tion fol­low. An­other key to ad­dress­ing hous­ing is the idea of retrofitting; but to con­serve the hous­ing stock, in­fra­struc­ture be­comes ex­tremely im­por­tant.

5. There is an ur­gent need to up­grade land record­keep­ing sys­tems which may be achieved by us­ing tech­nol­ogy and a dig­i­tal plat­form.

6. Most of the hous­ing poli­cies in In­dia are imag­ined around Mum­bai which highly lim­its the im­ple­men­ta­tion of poli­cies across the ge­og­ra­phy of the coun­try.

7. One of the key ar­eas is the mon­i­tor­ing and eval­u­a­tion of schemes, whether in­di­vid­ual hous­ing schemes like the Slum Reg­u­la­tion Au­thor­ity (SRA) or na­tional schemes like the Prad­han Mantri Awas Yo­jana (PMAY). There is a lack of ob­jec­tive eval­u­a­tion and trans­parency. 8. The big­gest ques­tion around hous­ing is the role of the gov­ern­ment and how does it ful­fil its re­spon­si­bil­ity of pro­vid­ing hous­ing for all. One of the ways would per­haps be the com­ing to­gether of the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors, where in­sti­tu­tions be­come enough ro­bust to sup­port the gov­ern­ment.

9. The state im­poses un­re­al­is­tic reg­u­la­tions which lead to vi­o­la­tions which in turn are di­rected into fis­cal in­stru­ments. This negates any in­cen­tives for fol­low­ing reg­u­la­tions; for ex­am­ple, Mum­bai re­cov­ers about 6000 crores through just con­don­ing vi­o­la­tions.

10. In the Sem­i­nar, there was a provo­ca­tion claim­ing hous­ing as a fun­da­men­tal right of the cit­i­zen. There have been many steps for­ward to­wards this, and there are in­ter­est­ing ex­am­ples across the coun­try of sig­nif­i­cant in­ter­ven­tions that need to be con­sol­i­dated. We need to build a reper­toire of tools and pro­cesses that can be im­ple­mented in this con­text. Aca­demic in­sti­tu­tions, gov­ern­ment bod­ies, and in­di­vid­ual re­searchers can come to­gether and build this knowl­edge bank that be­comes a good start­ing point for the chal­lenge of hous­ing.

The notes on the fourth panel dis­cus­sion are pre­pared by Ela Sing­hal.

Ex­tracted from The State of Hous­ing in In­dia — a doc­u­men­ta­tion of the in­au­gu­ral sem­i­nar for the ex­hi­bi­tion ti­tled The State of Hous­ing in In­dia, cu­rated by Rahul Mehro­tra, Ran­jit Hoskote and Kai­wan Me­hta, and pro­posed to be held in 2018 in Mum­bai....

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