IN­DIA’S UR­BAN HOUS­ING SCE­NARIO

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Ac­cord­ing to a McKin­sey re­port ti­tled ‘Ur­ban Awak­en­ing’ In­dia fails to meet ba­sic stan­dards of qual­ity liv­ing when judged by pa­ram­e­ters such as avail­able wa­ter sup­ply, pub­lic trans­porta­tion, open spa­ces, solid waste treat­ment, etc.

Rapid ur­ban­i­sa­tion has caused wide-spread en­vi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion in the coun­try. Yale Cen­tre for En­vi­ron­men­tal Law and Pol­icy pre­sented a study at Davos re­cently which stated that among 132 coun­tries, In­dia’s air qual­ity is the world’s un­health­i­est. In­dia beat China, Nepal and Bangladesh.

In­dia has failed to meet the hous­ing needs of ur­ban dwellers. In 2012, the Min­istry of Hous­ing and Ur­ban Poverty Al­le­vi­a­tion (MHUPA) stated that there is an un­der-sup­ply of 18.78 mil­lion hous­ing units in ur­ban In­dia, of which, nearly 95% af­fects the eco­nom­i­cally weaker sec­tions (EWS) and low in­come group (LIG) of the ur­ban pop­u­la­tion.

Peo­ple who be­long to the EWS and LIG sec­tions have no ac­cess to for­mal hous­ing fi­nance. Sev­eral of them earn daily wages and live in slums. The 2011 Cen­sus stated that nearly 65.5 mil­lion peo­ple re­side in slums in In­dian cities (13.9 mil­lion house­holds). Slums pro­lif­er­ate in al­most all metropoli­tan cities in In­dia.

As per 2011 Cen­sus, 70.6% of ur­ban pop­u­la­tion is cov­ered by in­di­vid­ual wa­ter sup­ply con­nec­tions, com­pared with 91% in China, 86% in South Africa and 80% in Brazil. Du­ra­tion of wa­ter sup­ply in In­dian cities ranges from one hour to six hours, com- pared to 24 hours in Brazil and China, and 22 hours in Viet­nam.

There is a cop­ing cost for in­ad­e­quate in­fra­struc­ture. For in­stance, due to in­ad­e­quate sup­ply of wa­ter, con­sumers of­ten end up pay­ing sig­nif­i­cantly more than the av­er­age price of wa­ter. In a MoUD (Min­istry of Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment) study in 2010, none of the 483 cities stud­ied had “healthy and clean” drink­ing wa­ter.

The MoUD study in 2010 stated that based on a sam­ple of 87 cities, un­der busi­ness-as-usual cir­cum­stances, in 20 years, the ex­pected av­er­age jour­ney speeds would de­crease from 17 to 26km/hr to 6 to 8km/hr.

Rapid pop­u­la­tion growth and ur­ban­i­sa­tion will also have a dra­matic ef­fect on our en­vi­ron­ment. In Jan­uary 2014, the Yale En­vi­ron­men­tal Per­for­mance In­dex ranked In­dia 174 out of 178 coun­tries on air pol­lu­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to In­dia’s Cen­tral Pol­lu­tion Con­trol Board, in 2010, par­tic­u­late mat­ter in the air of 180 In­dian cities was six times higher than World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion stan­dards. More peo­ple die of asthma in In­dia than any­where else in the world.

A BMC (Bri­han­mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion) re­port in 2012 said that air, noise and wa­ter pol­lu­tion is at an all-time high in Mum­bai.

By 2021, the ur­ban pop­u­la­tion is ex­pected to in­crease to nearly 500 mil­lion, to­talling to about 35% of the pop­u­la­tion of In­dia, and by 2017 , hous­ing de­mand­could be 88.78 mil­lion units.

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