India accounts for a population of approximately 1.21 billion (as per Census 2011), making it the world’s second-most populous country. Around 377 million, that’s over 31% of the total population, is an urban demographic residing in 7,933 urban dwellings across 53 cities, with over a million people, and the major metropolitans – Delhi-NCR, Kolkata and Mumbai-MMR.
Several socio-economic transitions associated with urbanization trends have transpired post the 70 years of independence. According to Indian Institute for Human Settlements’ report – Urban India 2011 – only 5 Indian cities listed a population of over a million, 41 cities < 0.1 million population in 1951. Come 2011, three cities listed a population count of over 10 million and 53 cities < 1 million populations.
India’s urban population in 1961 was at 78.9 million, which translated to 18.20% of the total national population count. Cut to 2011, the urban population count numbered 377 million, making up 31.2% of the national total.
With incremental employment, approximately 70%, being generated in urban centers, urbanization rate are certain to continue on its course. By 2030 this would navigate nearly 40% of India’s population to take up residence in urban centers.
The transitioning of rural to urban migration strengthens the objective of sustainable urbanization. It significantly highlights – increase in households, the formation of nuclear families, socio-economic composition, changing demographics, and a thriving middle class. The housing demand has increased as have the demands for basic urban amenities and infrastructure, with most major and mid-sized cities evincing a significant concentration of urban population. The rising concentration of people in urban areas has consequently led to a growing influx of slum dwellings and squatter settlements.
An accelerated growth, furthermore, witnessed in realty developments and rising land values in urbanized locations has caused the EWS/BPL sections of the society to become squatters occupying marginal lands. Such marginal areas bear typical indications, like – dilapidated housing stock, obsolescence and congestion.
Evidently, in urban India, there is a considerable shadow of the housing shortage, accompanied by a yawning gap amid the demand and supply of economically viable residencies, especially with regards to quality and quantity.
The TG-12 report from the Ministry of Housing Urban Poverty Alleviation states that India faced a paucity in urban housing in 2012 indicating a figure of 18.78 million. In 2017 this number was revised to 10^2 million. The affordable housing segment accounts for 95% of this shortfall in the urban housing segment.
The comprising migrant majority significantly comes from the lower-income groups, substantiating the requirement for building more economically viable residencies in the country’s urban space. Apart from residents of these moribund houses, 80% of the households are located in congested setups and require newly built housing. The report sheds light on the fact that 1 million residents reside in mud-houses (kaccha and non-serviceable). While this is so, over 500,000 residents are in homeless conditions.