Expert Zone

Straight from the Specialists

An affordable house for Mr Aspirer

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Can the aspirations of 100 million people be ignored?

Consider this. The 2011 Census said 31 percent of India’s population is classified as urban. That’s 380 million people. The Census also said 18 percent of Indian households lack basic amenities — no access to electricity, water, drainage and toilets.

What is also significant is that out of every 100 households, only three are built of concrete, 48 from burnt bricks and 24 from mud. The Planning Commission pegs the total housing shortage in our cities at 26.53 million. If an average of three people live in a house, this shortage affects the lives of at least 106 million urban Indians.

While food, shelter and clothing are universally accepted as key ingredients for survival, the importance of one over the other can be argued. For a billion-plus population, it will be shelter.

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