The recent extension of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission to 2014 could help to perk up housing statistics

In 2012, after several decades of the country’s independence, it is still grappling with the unmet adequate housing needs of thousands of its citizens.

To tackle the acute housing shortage, the Centre launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) in December 2005 for providing housing and basic services to urban poor slum dwellers in 65 select cities under the Sub Mission Basic Services to the Urban Poor (BSUP) and in other cities and towns, under the Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme (IHSDP).

The Mission duration was seven years from 2005-06 which has now been extended for two years up to March 2014 for completion of projects. 

According to a Technical Group constituted by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, the urban housing shortage at the beginning of Eleventh Plan was estimated at 24.71 million households in 2007, projected to increase to 26.53 million by the end of the Plan period (March 2012).

In addition, the government launched the ‘Rajiv Awas Yojana’ (RAY) scheme in June 2011 aimed at creating a ‘slum-free India’ by providing financial assistance to States that are willing to assign property rights to slum dwellers and provide them decent shelter along with basic civic and social services for developing the slum

However, according to human rights activists, the goals envisaged by the schemes are insufficient with regard to the enormity of the problem and the seriousness of the situation. “The right to housing is not only a component of the right to live with dignity but is also closely associated with the right to equality. Guaranteeing housing rights with the larger goal to achieve social and economic equality is also a fundamental constitutional objective,” they point out.

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