Housing policy not driven by welfare
Real estate prices have hit the roof largely because of a lack of regulation in a housing sector ruled by speculators. Faced with a crisis, the centre wants to facilitate private-sector housing initiatives for the urban poor, without doing anything itself. This, the alf study notes, is an unsuccessful strategy.
No purposive thinking has been devoted to housing the poor. "All building bye-laws till now were only for middle-income and high-income groups. The national building code also talked about an ideal house with a minimum of 600 sq ft (56 sq m), but a poor person cannot afford bigger than a 250-sq ft house. It is only in the National Building Code-2005 that the concept and details of housing for the economically weaker section were introduced,' says hudco's V Suresh.
Drifts and drafts
The centre has regularly come up with draft policies on slums and housing, but they have either remained on shelves or had no impact. It started making a national slum policy in 1997 that favoured improving infrastructure in slums. But the policy remains a draft (see