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Urbanization, migration and housing: a case study for India. Bhargava, Jagdish Prasad

Abstract

India is currently experiencing a rapid increase in population growth and in the urbanization process leading to industrialization. This is resulting in an overcrowding of urban areas with attendent problems of illiteracy, unemployment, inadequate community facilities and service and deplorable housing conditions. The present unsatisfactory urban housing situation la due to: the comparatively small investment in housing by private enterprise; the failure of the public housing programs to cope with the complex problems of housing; the national policy of giving priority to the investment in capital asset and the inadequacies of urban-regional planning and administration. India is facing the critical problem of housing those rural immigrants in the urban areas who can not even afford to pay an economic rent, who do not want to spend money on housing, and who are not easily assimilated into the urban environment. The hypothesis of the study is that rural immigrants to urban areas in India have specific economic, physical and cultural needs which must be considered to help India solve its urban housing problem. The study was undertaken because it is felt that housing rural immigrants to urban areas is one of the most critical problems facing India, and that there is need for an approach which will achieve a balanced social and economic development program. Consideration is given to the various concepts involved and terms such as 'Housing', 'rural immigrant', 'economic absorption', 'cultural integration' and 'adjustment' are defined. Urban problems associated with the housing problem are reviewed, and the economic, socio-cultural, psychological and physical problems of the rural immigrant in the urban areas, are analysed. India's past and present policies regarding housing, urban land, and socio-economic goals are also reviewed. It is observed that the housing problem is only a "symptom" of a complex of inter-related urban problems which, if resolved, would contribute to the solution of the housing problem. The rural Immigrant requires adequate economic absorption, socio-psychological adjustment, and adequate shelter and community facilities in the urban environment. To meet the needs of the rural immigrants it la recommended that adult programs in education, work-cum-orientation, paid apprenticeships and technical and vocational training be expanded. It is recommendeds that small scale units of production and other labour intensive projects be utilised together with large scale units of production that family migration and community life be encouraged; and that community services and facilities be considerably expanded in scope and volume. It is further recommended that these facilities and services be provided as emergency measures in existing slums in order to motivate immigrants towards self-improvement. It is considered that the Government should take measures to encourage the provision of more housing by private sources and non-profit organisations using self-help and mutual-help methods. It is recommended that the government should adopt the principle of neighbourhood planning within an Urban-Regional physical planning program administered through a proposed Ministry of Urban-Regional Planning and Development at the National and Provincial levels. It is concluded that the approach to the problem of housing rural immigrants in the urban areas can not be a departmentalized one; rather a simultaneous attack on all inter-related urban problems, using a comprehensive approach is imperative. Only thus can India hope to solve its problem of housing rural immigrants in the urban areas.

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