Housing for all – PMAY, etc.

Beyond shelter, dweller needs within the four walls


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Mains level: government's efforts in addressing housing challenges

PM lays foundation stone of Light House projects (LHPs) across six states

Central Idea:

The article discusses the commendable steps taken by the government in the interim Budget 2024 towards achieving the ‘Housing for All’ initiative, particularly focusing on the construction of affordable houses and addressing environmental concerns. It emphasizes the need for integrating modern technologies and passive design strategies to ensure both affordability and sustainability in housing projects.

Key Highlights:

  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the construction of two crore additional houses over the next five years under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Gramin (PMAY-G) and introduced a new housing scheme for the middle class.
  • The success of the PMAY scheme is acknowledged, with nearly three crore rural and 80 lakh urban affordable houses constructed since 2015.
  • The adoption of modern technologies, such as Light House Projects (LHPs) and alternative construction methods like Mivan, is emphasized to reduce construction time, costs, and environmental impact.
  • However, there’s a need to address the trade-offs between mass production and quality of life, particularly regarding thermal comfort and environmental sustainability.
  • Passive design strategies are suggested as a solution to ensure thermal comfort and reduce greenhouse gas emissions during the operational stage of buildings.
  • Initiatives like Eco Niwas Samhita and Smart Ghar III project in Rajkot are cited as examples of integrating passive design elements into affordable housing projects.
  • Challenges include multi-stakeholder involvement, lack of awareness among end-users about the benefits of passive designs, and the need for systemic changes to incentivize sustainable practices across the building value chain.

Key Challenges:

  • Balancing mass production with quality and sustainability.
  • Addressing thermal comfort and environmental concerns in affordable housing projects.
  • Overcoming multi-stakeholder involvement and lack of awareness about passive design benefits.
  • Incentivizing developers to prioritize sustainability in housing projects.

Main Terms:

  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY)
  • Affordable housing
  • Thermal comfort
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Passive design strategies
  • Light House Projects (LHPs)
  • Global Housing Technology Challenge (GHTC)
  • Eco Niwas Samhita

Important Phrases:

  • “Housing for All” initiative
  • “Low-carbon infrastructure”
  • “Modern technologies in affordable housing”
  • “Trade-offs with quality of life”
  • “Passive design implementation”
  • “Embodied and operational emissions”
  • “Environmental consciousness”
  • “Sustainable and inclusive future”

Useful quotes:

  • “The announcement also prompts us to critically think about the potential trade-offs with quality of life and environmental concerns as a result of the rapid expansion of the housing sector.”
  • “This underscores a critical paradox, wherein a technology deemed to offer a low-carbon alternative inadvertently contributes to elevated emissions during the operational stage.”
  • “The escalating heat stress worldwide is anticipated to affect various population segments, leading to a substantial increase in the demand for cooling.”
  • “However, the challenge lies in their implementation because of the multi-stakeholder nature of the building value chain.”
  • “By weaving environmental consciousness into the fabric of housing initiatives, we can ensure that the homes we build not only shelter individuals but are also robust structures that make residents resilient to a warming climate.”

Anecdotes/Useful Statements:

  • Example: The Smart Ghar III project in Rajkot demonstrates the integration of passive design strategies into affordable housing, ensuring indoor thermal comfort.
  • Fact: Nearly three crore rural and 80 lakh urban affordable houses have been constructed under the PMAY scheme since 2015.
  • Data: Construction technologies like Mivan offer higher efficiency and reduce the overall duration and cost of projects.
  • Example: The Global Housing Technology Challenge (GHTC) includes Light House Projects (LHPs) across six sites in six states, leveraging modern technology for affordable housing.
  • Fact: The lack of tangible benefits perceived by end-users hinders the adoption of passive designs in housing projects.

Critical Analysis:

The article effectively highlights the government’s efforts in addressing housing challenges while also acknowledging the environmental concerns associated with rapid construction. It emphasizes the need for a balanced approach that integrates modern technologies with passive design strategies to ensure both affordability and sustainability in housing projects. However, it also identifies key challenges such as multi-stakeholder involvement and lack of awareness among end-users, indicating the complexity of implementing sustainable practices across the building value chain.

Way Forward:

  • Implementing passive design strategies in affordable housing projects.
  • Raising awareness among stakeholders about the benefits of sustainable practices.
  • Incentivizing developers to prioritize sustainability through policy interventions.
  • Strengthening building codes to incorporate environmental considerations.
  • Fostering collaboration among stakeholders to drive systemic changes in the building sector.

Overall, the article calls for a holistic approach towards housing development that not only meets the immediate needs of the population but also ensures long-term environmental sustainability.

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