Housing, as one of the three basic needs of life, always remains the top priority of any person and society at large. Access to safe and healthy shelter is essential to a person's physical, psychological, social and economic well being and is a fundamental part of basic livelihood. A safe home is a starting point for a family for further socio-economic development through social organization, education and employment. It gives a feeling of security. Community relationship, which is the power and strength of any society, becomes stronger when people feel ownership in their house. However, greater number of population in India live either without or very temporary shelter.
Housing Census of India 2001 shows that though the average living conditions of Indian households have improved perceptibly, there is still a long way to go for the housing boom to happen in reality. Housing shortage as on 2007 was 24.71 million and the total requirement of housing during the 11th Five Year Plan period (2007-2012) was 26.53 million. This translates to building a new town of about half a million people every year for the next twenty years. Poverty and limited access to resources have compelled to look for low cost housing options.
India needs to be prepared for playing new role of hosting rapid growth and providing services for an inclusive society. Not only people need much more by way of basic infrastructure but systems have to be put in place so that (i) a socio-economic environment can be created for innovation and investment, (ii) effective delivery of public services of specified standards is assured for all including the poor for whom it should be affordable, and (iii) affordable housing for the poor in both rural and urban areas need to be assured. The affordable housing requires well designed, durable and high-quality civil engineering and architecture solutions that are standardized, modular, and easy to install.
It is matter of great concern that the traditional burnt clay bricks continue to be the primary raw material for housing activity all over India. Brick making consumes fertile top soil from agricultural fields making these unfit for cultivation for many years. Moreover baking of bricks consumes energy and burning coal emits unhealthy smoke and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Even on the technology front, we continue to depend on mostly manpower intensive traditional construction practices, which are slow and highly dependent on skilled labor input - a category already scarce in availability. Therefore, in order to be able to meet the huge housing shortage and future construction demands, we need to adopt new and alternative technologies. Technologies, which offer safe, durable, energy efficient, economical and environment-friendly green dwellings to our countrymen are to be explored and encouraged for wide scale application.
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