Delhi's Master Plan has adequate provisions for housing for all. Despite low-income housing being an explicit objective of the land policy by which land was vested in government for development according to Plan, provisions for the poor have not been implemented, resulting in slums. Current slum initiatives disregard, at risk of downsizing, Plan entitlements of the poor in the city's land and, together with initiatives promoting excessive up-market housing, have grave implications for equity and carrying capacity.

Delhi's Master Plan stipulates, besides standards for dwelling sizes, densities, etc, integrated housing requiring residential development for 100,000 population to have 25% cheap plots and 20% small dwellings as well. The Plan estimated that during 1981-2001 about 1,300,000 families would be added to the city, including 325,000 - ie, 25% - poor families, and 100,000 existing squatter houses would need replacement. Accordingly, it provided for 425,000 cheap plots (in about 2000 hectares spread all over the city), which have not been developed according to Plan. The census of 2001 counted about 400,000 families in slums in Delhi. Contrary to the popular perception that slums are the result of unanticipated migration, they are the result only of failure to implement mandatory low-income housing provisions. It appears that excess of population over Plan estimates is not in slums and poses competing claims for up-market housing on residential space, which recent initiatives are tending to pander to at the cost of Plan entitlements of the poor in the city's land.

The poor in Delhi are not housed according to Plan, only re-housed from slums according to slum policy - in ways sub-standard in terms of dwelling sizes, density, location, etc. Even this is to a very limited extent and low-income housing, developed to even less extent, also compromises standards, does not provide value for money and is more often than not lost to other uses. In November 2002 the court quashed the slum policy for having no basis in law and serving no purpose. The illegality had already been challenged in court in August in the matter of Arjun Camp, in which slum residents have sought housing according to Plan instead of re-housing according to policy in violation of the Plan. And the inadequacy of the policy has been central to political parleys and NGO criticism for long, but in December 2002 there was consensus against the court order that struck it down. The discourse is now drifting to other illegal and inadequate alternatives, notably the Mumbai Model for free flats through builders in lieu of commercial exploitation of part-site and NGO-managed night shelters for the homeless. And the Plan revision is reportedly considering housing the poor only near industrial areas, even as industries face relocation to city outskirts on account of failure to develop industrial areas according to Plan.
Meanwhile, since mid-2002 DDA has made it clear that it is inclined to focus on high-income group (HIG) flats by builders of repute. In September 2002 the court ordered the first of such schemes, started in Vasant Kunj in March without mandatory permission, stopped and inquired into. In October, in response to the Public Notice precipitated by the court case, 1700 families objected on grounds of infringement of Plan entitlements in respect of land and water. Meanwhile, in August, DDA had disposed off LIG flats as part of an HIG scheme, an issue raised in the Arjun Camp matter. In November DDA announced more HIG projects, including in the urban extension of Dwarka, where investments in flyover, metro corridor, prestigious institutions, etc, are concurrently being made. In December, amidst lip service to low-income housing amidst mid-winter evictions, housing decisions for others' benefit were announced. Parliament standing committee for urban development suggested measures to facilitate transfer of flats. A panel was set up to look into regularising illegal additions in flats and a regularisation announcement was made in January 2003. The minister also announced that 15% housing for poor would be ensured not by the state but by cooperatives of flat residents employing them. And the Plan revision reportedly is considering making housing private business.
In the matter of the HIG scheme that the court found illegal and against which 1700 families filed objections, DDA Chairman was reported saying that no inquiry is needed and construction can't stop. In the Arjun Camp matter, which seeks accountability on implementation of low-income housing entitlements, DDA has not filed reply. The ongoing Plan revision is thinking of making housing private business.


  • 2003.02.26: DDA scheme for allotting to government officers HIG flats it can't sell to general public
  • 2003.02.25: DDA asks 5 corrupt officers to retire following vigilance enquiry in its HIG mega-housing projects
  • 2003.02.25: VP Singh demands national slum policy
  • 2003.02.24: Mahapanchayat of 600 homeless arranged by NGOs demands 100 night shelters, ration cards, bank accounts for homeless: Comment1
  • 2003.02.19: CM lays foundation stone for industrial workers' housing: Narela - Betrayed by All2
  • 2003.02.18: Redesigned auction notice for plots3posted on DDA website
  • 2003.02.17: DDA auction notice for plots4 posted on DDA website
  • 2003.02.05: 2.5 crores for Night Shelters in MCD budget: News report
  • 2003.02.02: DDA auction notice for plots suggests speculative buying, second homes for NRIs: Notice


  • 2003.01.28: DDA won't build, housing will be private business: News report
  • 2003.01.27: Hearing of objections to HIG scheme in green belt/VasantKunj: Report
  • 2003.01.26: Arjun Camp petitioners request DDA to file reply: see Chronicle5
  • 2003.01.25: VP Singh exhorts people to undo November court order: Comment
  • 2003.01.25: Edit page article celebrating night shelters: Comment6
  • 2003.01.25: DDA asks flat residents' ideas for site cleared mid-winter: Comment
  • 2003.01.22: Minister says planners didn't think of poor: Letter to Minister
  • 2003.01.22: MoUD decides 15% housing for poor by flat owners, not state: Comment7
  • 2003.01.21: Regularisation of illegal additions in flats announced: Comment8
  • 2003.01.20: DDA plans to limit housing for poor to industrial areas: News report
  • 2003.01.17: MCD announces wooden sleepers in night shelters, shelters for women
  • 2003.01.16: MCD announces fee waiver in night shelters, more night shelters
  • 2003.01.13: Arjun Camp demolition averted: see Chronicle9
  • 2003.01.09: LG says HIG scheme stopped by court can't stop: Letter to DDA/MoUD
  • 2003.01.08: MCD announces night shelters to remain open round-the-clock


  • 2002.12.28: MCD hands over 5 community centres to NGOs for night shelters
  • 2002.12.23: Labour Minister's welfare scheme using rejected flats: Comment
  • 2002.12.20: Parliament Committee proposes easing flat transfers: Comment
  • 2002.12.19: Consensus against court order on slum policy: see Slumming Delhi
  • 2002.12.14: Mid-winter evictions following quashing of slum policy
  • 2002.12.11: Illegal experiments with partners of repute: Letter to MoUD/DDA
  • 2002.12.11: Higher costs alleged in HIG schemes with builders of repute
  • 2002.12.10: Contracting scam alleged in HIG schemes with firms of repute
  • 2002.12.10: Press Notice for offers from NGO-builders of repute for Mumbai Model
  • 2002.12.10: DDA given two weeks to reply in Arjun Camp case: see Chronicle10
  • 2002.12.04: Panel to study DDA flat alterations set up
  • 2002.12.04: CM says Mumbai Model was her idea, DDA like a builder: Letter to CM


  • 2002.11.29: Court quashes Delhi's Slum Policy: see Slumming Delhi11
  • 2002.11.22: DDA announces HIG schemes, says no more EWS: Letter to DDA/MoUD
  • 2002.11.16: TV report on failure of Mumbai Model in Mumbai: Letter to MoUD/DDA12
  • 2002.11.15: MCD hands over 3 Night Shelters to NGOs
  • 2002.11.10: Minister announces Mumbai Model for Delhi slums seeks accountability on implementation of low-income housing entitlements, DDA has not filed reply. The ongoing Plan revision is thinking of making housing private business
Posted by Gita Dewan Verma: 2003-02-16, last modified July 10, 2006 
  • 1. source:
  • 2. source:
  • 3. source:
  • 4. source:
  • 5. source:
  • 6. source:
  • 7. source:
  • 8. source:
  • 9. source: Op.cit.
  • 10. Ibid.
  • 11. source:
  • 12. source: