Housing is key for well-being and for spatial and social mobility. In fact, affordable quality housing is a major component of a decent standard of living, as defined by the United Nations. In India, up until 2015, the housing market was characterised by excess demand for affordable dwellings, a small rental market and an oversupply of high-end housing, especially in urban areas. However, the Union government’s flagship Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY- Urban & Rural), has completely changed the housing landscape for India’s economically weaker section as well as lower and middle-income groups. The government has shown its commitment towards providing “Housing for all” by allocating INR 48,000 crores to the PMAY, under which over one crore pucca houses have been sanctioned since 2015. This mammoth allocation will further our country’s attempt to provide a decent standard of living to all of its citizens. The increased allocation has the following implications:

1. Housing for the Economically Weaker Sections, Lower & Middle Income Groups:

  • The housing shortage among low-income groups is large, despite increases in the stock of quality housing in recent years. This is majorly due to a dis-proportionate increase in the number of high-end houses as compared to affordable dwellings. Thus, the PMAY, through its Affordable Housing-in-Partnership Programe (AHP), has not only promoted ownership of affordable houses, built under the scheme, but also tenancy. As a result of this significant allocation, AHP would be further extended in various other urban areas, hence providing pocket-friendly houses to beneficiaries.

2. Rural-Urban Migration

  • The rapid urbanization as seen in India, and particularly rural-urban migration, will intensify demand for affordable housing, especially at the low end of the market. By 2030, 60 per cent of the GDP will be contributed by urban India.
  • Taking this into cognizance, the government has doubled the allocation to the PMAY vis-à-vis the 2021-22 budget so as to prevent shortage of affordable houses in the future.

3. Cornerstone for Increased Standard of Living

  • This colossal allocation to PMAY should not be seen in isolation, as affordable housing is key to all other aspects of a decent standard of living such as proper sanitation, water supply etc.
  • The PMAY and ‘Har Ghar, Nal se Jal’, ‘Toilet for all’, ‘UJJWALA’ etc. go hand in hand, as a proper pucca house is fundamental to all the above schemes.

4. Gender Inclusivity & Sustainable Development

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to the nation, declared that under the PMAY ownership of some of the newly built pucca houses would be given to women in the family, so as to promote gender inclusivity and balanced development.
  • Further, through an increased allocation the union government aims to adopt sustainable and environment friendly ways of constructing puuca houses under PMAY.

Providing adequate and affordable housing is an ever-growing challenge, especially for a country that has one of the fastest growing populations. Several public housing programs, since our independence, have aimed to solve the issue of supply shortage but the same have not been completely successful. Thus, housing for all seemed to be an idealistic concept instead of something that could actually be achieved. However, the union government's bold flagship PMAY scheme has turned this distant dream into a reality. The INR 48,000 crore allocation to PMAY will accelerate India’s bid to not only provide a roof to each and every of its citizen but also grant them a dignified standard of living.