Policy slogans are usually fragments of a sentence. Make in India. Housing for All. Swatch Bharat. What’s usually missing in the fragment is that the verb has no subject to agree with. For slogans to become statements, missions, policies and actions, someone has to make in india, keep it swachh and build the housing. The big elephant in the room is: who?
For housing, this is a particularly important challenge. The numbers are daunting: a shortage of 18.78 million housing units in 2012. Over 95% of this shortage is for low-income households that make less than Rs 2 lacs total household income per year. Taking the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation’s own formula that a household can afford a house five times its annual income, this means “Housing for All” needs to make nearly 17 million houses all under Rs 10 lacs. That’s the finish line.
So: who should build this housing? Continue reading Who can build Housing for All?
Guest Post (and photographs) by THOMAS CROWLEY
The media is all praise for the central government’s rescue efforts in Kashmir, despite the evident hollowness of the government’s claims to heroism. But the press has little to say about the brutal destruction authored by the government in its capital city. Thursday, September 11, saw another demolition drive in a city that has seen far too many of them, from the Emergency to the Commonwealth Games. The demolition took place in the South Delhi neighborhood of Aya Nagar, where residents say about 250 houses were destroyed.
Continue reading Demolitions in Aya Nagar, Delhi: Thomas Crowley
The recent eviction of over 1500 Economically Weaker Section (EWS) households from Ejipura in Bangalore (see here, here and here) to make way for a high-end mixed-use development (with some EWS housing for “original residents”) is just one a series of millennial evictions that have scarred the landscape of Indian cities and yet another instigated by an order of a High Court. Below are seven quick propositions on how to understand these evictions, how to respond in the immediate and near-term.
Continue reading Seven Propositions and One Challenge from Ejipura
The recently announced Rajiv Awaas Yojana (RAY) has brought back an old ghost to debates on how to allow the urban poor a foothold into the city and the possibility of upward mobility. The central policy initiative of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation is the most significant contemporary attempt to address urban poverty through providing housing to the urban poor. The “slum-free city” is back. Now more than ever, then, it is time to ask: what is a “slum-free city”?
Continue reading The Values of Property
Guest post by PAUL DIVAKAR
This was written yesterday, 24 March 2011: Today we witnessed most humiliating, fascist nature of pulverising already vulnerable communities – most of whom are Dalits and backward castes in Gayatri colony near Faridpur of Baljit Nagar. Continue reading Hundreds of lives reduced to rubble in Delhi: Paul Divakar
I was moving around Mumbai city on that weekend, mainly in the western suburbs. Several posters and banners were put up all over, announcing a call to a mass rally by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. Thackeray’s clarion call for that meeting was: “Housing for the bhoomiputra“. Bhoomiputra literally means son of the land. On an overt reading of the poster and slogan, one could conclude that the Sena is back to its advocacy of the sons of the soil theory which originally raised it to prominence in the 1960s. But when I attended the rally and noticed the people who attended it, I asked myself, so who exactly is this son of the soil that the Sena is talking about? Is it the Marathi manoos, the local underdog who the Sena argues has no social and economic space in his/her own city? If it is truly the Marathi manoos, then how do I interpret the presence of North Indian women, Bohra muslim women, perhaps even Dalit women, and many other women who I tried to mark but could not classify as either Hindu or Christian or any other particular else. Hmmm …. Continue reading Of Bhoomiputra and Housing
David Harvey published his piece Right to the City in the New Left Review Issue of September-October 2008. Briefly, he describes the capitalist process and how the city has been the space for investing surplus capital. Specifically, this is done through the constant construction boom, be it housing or infrastructure creation. Harvey is suggesting that the global crises which has affected cities across the world (also because these cities were deeply implicated in the conditions that produced the crisis) is now offering an opportunity for the marginalized “classes” of the world to come together and take control of the “surpluses” which are generated at the expense of the cities. He proposes that if the marginalized people across the world were to unite, they could probably demand a human right to the city which goes beyond merely accessing individual urban resources. The right to the city involves re-creating ourselves in the process of re-creating our cities, in consonance with the higher values of equality and social justice. Continue reading Right to the City? Rethinking Urbanization, Urban Restructuring, Change and How the City is Accessed Physically and Symbolically …