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Indian Real Estate News : Mumbai
Ensuring affordable housing for migrant poor
Source: The Economic Times Dec 27, 2013
The latest National Sample Survey Organisation report shows a significant decline in the number of slum households in urban areas. The number came down by 32% to 33,150 in 2012 compared to 49,000 in 2009, though experts have raised doubts.

And the government's defence that welfare schemes for housing have helped may not be entirely misplaced. Yet, the government cannot sit and gloat. The pace of urbanisation will be rapid as industry and services drive economic growth, and hence, scores of people will continue to migrate from the hinterland to towns. An estimated 8.8 million households already live in urban slums. Cities will be inundated with slums if these migrants have to be housed in existing towns, adding pressure on basic infrastructure. The government must gear up.

Maharashtra, for example, has an estimated 7,723 slums, accounting for nearly a quarter of urban slums in India. Rapid urbanisation has propelled migration, especially to slums in Mumbai, as people seek better opportunities than in their villages. But that is no reason not to plan for habitats that are hygienic and free from crime. To provide better quality of lives to migrants, India needs to build more towns. These towns must have infrastructure for power, piped gas, water and sanitation, public transport, connectivity to other towns and high-speed broadband connectivity so that they can support an efficient manufacturing and services sector.

New cities will come up when the Delhi-Mumbai corridor is complete. Many more such projects are needed for slum-free urbanisation. However, for such projects to come up, we need reform that will allow the release of large tracts of rural land. Time for civic authorities to put on their thinking caps.

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