Daily Current Affairs – 30th January, 2017

Daily Current Affairs – 30th January, 2017

Social Challenges in Housing Schemes

Introduction

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana was launched in 2016 to provide financial assistance for construction of pucca house for all houseless and households living in dilapidated houses. The aim of this scheme is to ensure construction of one crore environmentally safe and secure hoses by 2019.

Currently, 32% of the Indian population lives in urban areas and by 2050 more than half the population would be moving to urban areas. However, still a balance needs to be maintained and rural housing has to be kept as an important part of policy making addressing varied needs of the rural residents. The government has to ensure that the housing provided to the rural residents is in sync with the expectation of these residents.

Challenges of Urban Slums

When, as a result of the growing urbanisation, the poor from the villages are required to shift to the cities they continue to stay in the slums but this transition gives rise to various challenges. The challenges are as follows:

  • Health concerns in urban areas
  • Threats and extortion demands by real estate mafia and the corrupt government officials.
  • Urban slums are usually located at prime spots in the urban areas. Hence, they block revenue which the government could have earned from these locations.

Measure for facing Urbanisation

To tackle problems such as those mentioned above and gear up for the increasing pressure due to urbanisation various policy measures have been undertaken.

  • United Nations focuses on making cities a better place to live on through Sustainable Development Goal 11 which targets to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
  • The year 2016 also saw Habitat III summit in Quito, Ecuador promoting a “New Urban Agenda” of giving slum dwellers upgraded housing with basic services by 2030.
  • Recently, Government of India also introduced two new interest-subsidy schemes under the PMAY to make housing finance more affordable.

Why PMAY is being rejected?

Tackling urbanisation, providing low cost housing to all with the ‘Housing For All’ target for the year 2022 have been some of the central focus areas for policy by the Indian government. Irrespective of this emphasis still a significant percentage of beneficiaries are not responding positively to the scheme. This segment of the population does not avail benefits provided under the scheme. This also leads to low indicators with respect to success of government schemes and policies and social development of the country.

The reasons for such a situation are:

  • Lack of affordable housing finance is a limitation for which the government also introduced the above mentioned interest subsidy schemes.
  • Stakeholder participation at the time of policy making is very low and as a result they feel unsatisfied with the provisions in the schemes.
  • Inefficient subsidy targeting also leads to vacancies in the housing schemes because the subsidy fails to accurately address the problem of affordability.
  • The housing schemes involve relocation of the people. As a result of the relocation, they tend to get disconnected from their social ties and relations.

Social Disconnect

Among the reasons mentioned above, it is observed from studies that the feel of disconnect and loss of social connections is a major reason for the beneficiaries to reject the housing provided by the government.

Psychological Support

The relocation under housing schemes leads to a feeling of isolation. Social relations and community provides them a sense of support and comfort for the troubled days. Those residing in slums seek and provide a lot of psychological and material support from each other which the State cannot provide.

Financial Comfort

Slum dwellers rely on each other for their borrowing needs in a regular manner. Moving to new areas also impacts their earning capacity and labour force participation.

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