In a nation grappling with a severe housing shortage for its economically weakest sections, the concept of “low-cost housing” has surprisingly faded from public consciousness and policy discourse. A crisis impacting millions of the nation’s poorest, the need for affordable housing has become even more pressing as India’s population overtakes China to emerge as the most populous nation. If left unaddressed, the housing crisis may result in mass homelessness and undignified living conditions for citizens.

The alarming magnitude of the affordable housing crisis is evident from government data. In 2018, the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry estimated an urban housing shortage of 29 million units. The government has undoubtedly undertaken affordable housing schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) launched in 2015 to incentivize private participation. Yet progress has been tardy, with only 3.67 million out of the 20 million targeted urban units completed until August 2020 under PMAY.

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