95 million Indians will be living in urban slums by 2012

New Delhi, Oct 28 (IANS) As many as 95 million Indians, or approximately 8 percent of the population, will be living in urban slums in the country by 2012, Housing and Poverty Alleviation Minister Kumari Selja said Thursday.

Addressing an international conference on Innovative Building Technologies for Affordable Mass Housing, she said India has ‘witnessed unprecedented economic growth of around 9 percent for the last decade or so, and which is likely to continue but the growth being urban-centric is giving rise to rapid urbanisation leading to slums’.

She pegged the estimated shortage in housing at more than 25 million in the country, noting all of this is in the economically weaker section (EWS) and low income group (LIG) segment.

‘India’s urban population, which is about one third of the total population (over 1.18 billion as of April 2010) at present, is estimated to grow to about half of the total population in the next two decades,’ Selja added.

This project which is under the National Urban Housing and Habitat Policy 2007, will comprise two segments – urban infrastructure and governance and other on basic services to the urban poor (BSUP) which will include land tenure, affordable housing, water, sanitation, education, health and social security.

The International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction which is supported by the United Nations is also collaborating in this project.

Selja also stressed the need to use construction material from natural resources without degrading the environment.

‘We have made some progress towards improved construction techniques using locally available materials and using organised construction. These technologies must be standardized for mass production,’ she added.

The daylong conference was attended by 33 members of the council from 23 countries.

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