Letter, in view of news reports about constitution of Committee to prepare "Slum-Free Master Plan" in two weeks, to request budget provisions for social housing are not diverted to options inferior to statutory solutions

Secretary, MoUD

Sub: Request to ensure no wasteful budget provision for ‘social housing’ in contravention of DMP


As you are aware, NCMP speaks (in section on infrastructure) of massive expansion of social housing with particular attention to slum-dwellers and care in course of urban renewal to see they are housed near workplaces and promises forced eviction / demolition of slums will be stopped. As outlined in my NCMP-DMP note of 30.05.04, this is convergent with provisions of Delhi Master Plan (DMP), indeed most statutory plans. I have amply argued in correspondence, etc, since 1999 that initiatives in garb of ‘slum policy’, including draft national slum policy, that de-link the slum problem from statutory housing solutions are illegal and wholly unworthy of public resources. _I am writing now to bring to your attention two sets of developments in the hope that their juxtaposition is compelling enough for you to ensure no wasteful budget provision is made for ‘social housing’ in contravention of statutory plans_.

One, President’s address to Parliament on 07.06.04 and Prime Minister’s address to the nation on 24.06.04 both make references to rule of law, requiring the general NCMP commitment to ‘social housing’ to be interpreted in relation to statutory housing solutions. Prime Minister’s elaboration of NCMP, I believe, makes this imperative for purpose of investments. PM speaking of “unplanned growth of cities …making life in urban India a living hell” and of “policies that can encourage urban development and urban renewal… public-private partnership in building urban infrastructure in a planned manner” calls for urban development / renewal to be in accordance with statutory plans. PM speaking of growth as “not an end in itself… a means to …banish …homelessness and improve the standard of living of the mass of our people” and of equity and efficiency being “complimentary, not contradictory” underscores raison d'être of statutory city plans. By describing essence of NCMP as “recognition that policies that are aimed at promoting economic growth must also advance the cause of distributive justice” and rationale for UPA commitment to social sector investments as the unacceptability of disparities, PM has connected investments to equity, as in ‘entitlements perspective’ of statutory city plans, precluding willful wasteful interpretation of / investments in ‘social housing’ as ‘dole’, as in a slew of past ‘policies’, ‘programs’, etc, in the ‘endowment paradigm’.

Two, media reports of ‘initiatives’ for housing the poor in Delhi – where planned development responsibility rests with central government – continue to be in ‘dole’ mode. The combination of ‘visits’ to and calls for minor ‘improvement’ in grossly illegal resettlement, ‘demands’ for even more illegal in-situ multi-storey flats on slums, most illegal ‘decisions’ to not build any more EWS housing, etc, in utter disregard of DMP provisions and processes is exact photo-copy of developments in late 2002. The ‘difference’ between then and now is that indifference to efforts of citizens in ‘conflicting’ pursuit of statutory DMP entitlements and solutions (inclusive of opposition to illegal ‘renewal’ and ‘development’ jeopardizing them) has grown, because citizens’ efforts have grown with court matters, public notice responses, representations in response to Parliamentary Committee notice, etc. The ‘difference’ is also the indifference to the import of Supreme Court judgment upholding DMP over one lakh industrial units, unless government is ‘hoping’ to use that as a ‘model’ for abdicating responsibility in the matter also of housing the poor, also in Supreme Court in SLP after High Court quashed Delhi’s defunct and illegal ‘slum policy’. As in case of industries, despite requests since 2002, government has not brought DMP housing solutions to the Court’s attention and indifference to suggestions (in NCMP-DMP note of 06.06.04 and subsequently) for ‘using’ the court’s 18 month deadline for time-bound enforcement of DMP solutions for industries makes a prima-facie case for genuine apprehension.

What NCMP and President and Prime Minister have said promises a different reality from the one continuing to be constructed in Delhi by inertial unlawful initiatives in disregard of lawful solutions / entitlements and citizens’ efforts in their pursuit. The budget could clarify matters.

Yours sincerely,

Gita Dewan Verma / Planner


  • Chief Secretary, GNCTD with same request
  • Sh K Chakraborty, Lok Sabha Sectt, in continuation of representations invited about DDA
  • LG Secretariat, in continuation of letter of 25.06.04 to LG (enclosed for ready reference)
  • PM Secretariat, in continuation of letter of 25.06.04 ro PM (enclosed for ready reference