How Can We Make Indian Cities More Affordable and Resilient?

How successful are urban policies in assuring access to housing and services among vulnerable sections?

2 min read

As urban areas became the epicentres of COVID-19, it sparked several conversations about the frailties of Indian cities — the lack of affordable housing, lack of adequate social safety nets, public health risks owing to poor sanitation, and most importantly, the vulnerabilities of informal settlements.

To what extent are our urban policies successful in assuring access to housing and services among vulnerable sections? How do the underlying governance frameworks in our cities affect the outcomes of these policies? Can secure land rights catalyse our transition towards more inclusive and resilient urban centers?

Why is it that despite many affordable public housing schemes like the Central Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), a large number of houses built under them remain unoccupied? Why haven’t they been able to effectively manage the gaps in affordable housing? Further, in the private housing market, why is it that a large number of landlords intentionally leave their houses vacant despite significant demand for housing?


In this episode of the ‘Land of a Billion’ podcast, we speak with researchers Vaidehi Tandel and Sahil Gandhi, to unpack such housing paradoxes in our cities, and we look at the underlying issues that the pandemic has put forth around effective affordable housing and sustainable urban planning.

Tune in to know more!

What should you expect from this podcast series? ‘Land of a Billion’ brings you expert conversations about the most contentious of the holy roti-kapda-makaan trinity – the makaan over our heads, and the larger ecosystem that governs it. From administrative tussles to understanding the conflicts on ground, catch these episodes every alternate Monday for a rundown on the latest charcha around land and property rights in India.

Hosted by researcher Abhishek Shah, it is a fortnightly podcast series produced in association with the Property Rights Research Consortium.

Don’t forget to catch the next episode, which will be the last in this series, where we'll be in conversation with former IAS officer, Dr KP Krishnan, who is currently the IEPF Chair Professor in Regulatory Economics at NCAER and the Steering Committee Chair at the Property Rights Research Consortium, on the land reforms that India has witnessed and its impact on the country’s economy.

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