India’s richest state needs over $200bn to house its poorest

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poorestMUMBAI: Maharahstra, India’s wealthiest and most urbanised state, needs more than $200 billion in fresh investment by 2022 if it is to solve a chronic shortage of affordable housing in its fast-growing cities, a report by consultants KPMG found.

India’s urban population is set to roughly double by 2050, and that means finding jobs and inexpensive city homes has become a major headache for the country’s politicians.

According to the 2011 census, Maharashtra already has India’s highest urban population, most of it concentrated in five cities including Greater Mumbai, which is home to 23 million.

Activists have long complained that, despite a surplus of luxury homes lying unsold, Mumbai and other cities have a severe shortage of affordable housing. The issue has been taken up by nationalist groups, such as right-wing Hindu party Shiv Sena, appealing to Mumbai’s working classes.

“Where are the homes for Mumbaikars?” asked Sub­hash Desai, Maharashtra’s industries minister and a Shiv Sena leader. “They are industrial workers, office-goers, drivers, security guards, domestic help. We make them (live) two hours away,” he told the audience at the report presentation.

Roughly half of Mumbai’s households earn less than 20,000 rupees a month, putting even the average price of government-built affordable homes in the city — just under $24,000 — out of reach.

The report found that, in urban areas alone, Maha­rash­­tra would need 5m new homes by 2022, adding about 50pc to its current housing stock. Most of that — an estimated 70pc — would need to be affordable.

Categories: Asia

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