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By Abhirup Bhunia
New Delhi: Less than seven years are left for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious Housing for All scheme aimed at providing a home to all the urban poor by 2022 – especially as cities grow and migrants flow in from distressed rural areas.
This means an estimated 44,000 homes will have to be built every day or 16 million every year.
IndiaSpend has identified six hurdles that the government must reckon with as it attempts to meet this target:
- Cities are growing: Two Indian metros, Delhi and Mumbai were among the 10 largest urban agglomerations in the world, as on 2014, while another, Kolkata is set to be among the world’s top fifteen by 2030, according to the UN. There were 0.9 million homeless people in urban India as per the 2011 Census, in addition to a slum population of roughly 65 million. More than 90 percent of the ensuing housing shortage is constituted by what are called economically-weaker sections and low-income groups, according to government data.
- A migrant flood is coming: People from India’s distressed rural areas, home to 833 million people, according to the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) released earlier this month, are likely to flood into cities and towns in growing numbers as agricultural growth rates flounder. About 670 million people in rural areas live on less than Rs.33 a day, as IndiaSpend reported. India’s urban population is estimated to reach 600 million by 2031, up from about 380 million in 2011. Migrants make up a sizeable chunk of India’s urban population, last estimated at 35 per cent by the National Sample Survey Organisation in 2007-08.
- Indian slum populations are high: About 17 per cent of urban India – or about 65 million people – today live in slums. While this data is reflected in the Census, on a globally comparable index, the proportion of urban population living in slums in India is high.
- Land will be hard to find: An estimated 2 lakh hectares of land will be required to build homes for the poor and plug housing shortages. To deal with the land shortage, some experts have called for vertical expansion by way of floor space index (FSI) relaxations. Mumbai has recently effected some FSI reform. However, most Indian cities are densely populated, with densities running into tens of thousands per square kilometre.
- Maintaining standards will be a challenge: The sub-components of the Housing For All scheme include new units; credit-linked subsidies; beneficiary-led upgradation/construction; and upgrading/redevelopment of slum households. In the rush to build, the quality of construction will be a challenge. A third of existing housing units in India are already of a poor standard. This, of course, is not unlike several other emerging economies.
- Breaking out of the regulatory maze: Among the most difficult challenges of Modi’s housing scheme would be the regulatory maze that enmeshes the construction-approval process in India, which the World Bank ranks as among the worst globally. In India, the approval process between land acquisition and commencement of construction can take as long as two years, real-estate consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle estimates.
New Delhi: The Union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday gave its approval to a proposal to form an expert group under the chairmanship of Niti Aayog vice chairperson Arvind Panagariya to classify caste names returned in the Socio-Economic and Caste Census, 2011 (SECC).
The enumeration under the SECC has thrown up about 46 lakh caste/sub-caste/synonyms/ surnames/clan/gotra names and the expert group has been assigned to classify this data, an official release said.
The expert group will be serviced by the ministries of social justice and empowerment as well as tribal welfare, which will nominate other members to the group.
The central government decided to collect data on castes through the SECC in May 2011 which was conducted by respective state governments.
The field survey on economic data has since been completed and the socio-economic data relating to rural areas has been released by the ministry of rural development.
The work on urban data is under progress.
Patna: Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad led thousands of his party workers here on Monday to protest withholding of the caste-based census data and demanded it be made public.
Lalu along with his two sons Tej Pratap and Tejasvi Yadav sat in an open jeep and led to Raj Bhawan to protest against withholding the data. Lalu Prasad also described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as anti-backward.
“This march is just a beginning. We would protest (right) to the parliament because Modi is not eager to make the data public soon.
“RJD would compel the BJP-led central government to make public the caste-based Census data soon. We would launch a bigger movement than the Mandal movement of the 90s if Modi would conspire to delay to make the data public,” Lalu told party workers and leaders minutes before he hit the roads here.
The former Bihar chief minister said people of the country have a right to know the details of caste-based Census.
“Centre should make the caste census public instead of withholding the data on numerical strength of different castes.”
Lalu said people, particularly the poorest of the poor, marginalised and downtrodden sections of the society, have right to know it and every caste should know its strength and weakness in terms of population and other aspects, he said.
He said RJD’s allies – the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), Congress and National Congress Party (NCP) – have extended moral support to it on the issue.
Lalu has also hinted that the issue could be one of the main planks of the alliance of RJD, JD-U, Congress and the NCP in the upcoming Bihar assembly polls.
New Delhi: About 86 million more rural Indians have been counted as illiterate than the 2011 census data found.
This is revealed by the Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC), which counted 315.7 million Indians in rural areas as illiterate in 2011, the same year as the census and the highest number of illiterates of any country in the world.
Put another way, rural India has more illiterate people than the population of Indonesia – the world’s fourth-most populous country – and twice the population of Pakistan.
Released last week, the SECC, which focused on rural India, counted more people (literate and illiterate) than the census: 35.73 percent of Indians in rural areas as illiterate, as against 32.23 percent counted by census 2011.
The new data has also revealed the low levels of literacy in rural India.
Those who are literate can barely read or count.
As many as 14 percent (123 million people) of literate Indians in rural areas have not studied past class five, while 18 percent (157 million) have completed primary education, or class five.
Given that educational levels in India do not reflect real learning, 280 million literate Indians in rural areas are only nominally literate.
As IndiaSpend reported earlier, only a fourth of all children in class III can read a class II text fluently, a drop of more than 5 percent over four years. With math, a quarter of children in class III could not recognise numbers between 10 and 99, a drop of 13 percent over four years, according to the 2014 Annual Status Report on Education (ASER).
Only 3 percent (three million) of Indians in rural areas have completed graduation or a higher level of education.
Central India reported the highest illiteracy rate of 39.20 percent and east India 38.79 percent, followed by west India (35.15 percent), north India (32.87 percent), the northeast (30.2 percent) and south India (29.64 percent).
Union territories fared the best with less than 15 percent of the population illiterate.
Rajasthan reported the worst illiteracy rate: 47.58 percent or 25.88 million people, followed by Madhya Pradesh with 44.19 percent or 22.80 million illiterate people, Bihar with 43.85 percent or 42.89 million illiterate people and Telangana with 40.42 percent or 9.5 million illiterate people.
The surprises are the presence of the southern states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in the top 10 state for illiteracy.
Kerala is another surprise in the SECC analysis. While state surveys and the census have repeatedly claimed a literacy rate of more than 90 percent, the SECC report says 11.38 percent, or 3 million Keralites, are illiterate.
Among union territories, Dadra & Nagar Haveli reported the highest illiteracy rate of 36.29 percent.