Government’s intervention in housing during 1951-87 and subsequent developments
Since 1951, the Government of India through the Five Year Plans intervened to develop the housing sector in a mass way. Initially, the policy was to increase the housing stock for the low-income groups in the country. In 1952, a subsidized housing scheme for industrial workers was initiated and in 1954 a Low Income Group (LIG) housing scheme was initiated. Properties in Kochi were available at rock bottom prices during those times.
During the Second Five Year Plan a Slum Clearance and Improvement Scheme was introduced. From the third Five Year Plan onwards, the Middle Income Group (MIG) housing scheme was initiated. The Fourth Five Year Plan concentrated its activities on social housing schemes, such as the development of subsidized housing amenities for industrial workers, slum clearance, rehousing and also to develop housing units for low income and middle-income groups. The plan document recorded that the contribution of the private sector in increasing the housing stock for low-income groups was provided through the government controlled institutional agencies like Housing and Urban Development Corporation and the housing boards.
The Sixth Five Year Plan encouraged housing development with self-help as well as through the provision of infrastructure facilities as a means of encouraging the private sector to take up housing development. The Seventh five Year Plan allowed provision for housing sites for landless laborers in rural areas and subsidized housing to the low-income groups. Assistance to low and middle income groups was provided through government institutional agencies like Housing and Urban Development Corporation and also the Housing Boards.
The Seventh five Year Plan (1985 – 90) had identified and recorded a number of important issues in the housing development sector for the first time since the inception of the centralized planning process in India. These include recognizing the need for certain minimum standard amenities in the housing units and the need to view housing development a high priority. Moreover, the document has also recognized that housing activity serves to fulfill many of the objectives of the plan. The plan documented that the major responsibility of house construction will have to be left to the private sector. The strengthening of the existing housing financial institutions was also recommended.