6th Five Year Plan
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28 || Appendix

Chapter 23:

The urban population of India is small as a proportion of the total population of the country, estimated to be only about 21.8 per cent of the total in 1980. However, the absolute size of more than 109 million people (in 1971) living in urban areas is large by any standards. Urban development, therefore, requires serious attention in its own right, though in the context of overall development planning. In a country still largely rural and agricultural in character, it is natural that programmes for agricultural and rural development should receive the greatest emphasis; in particular those for rural employment creation and assistance to the rural poor. Urban development should, however, be seen as complementary to rural development and policies affecting the process of urbanisation should be such as to strengthen the links between towns and cities and their hinterland. Urban areas of all sizes operate as market centres for agricultural output and provide a variety of service functions in addition to operating as centres of manufacturing activity. These functions should be strengthened such that towns and cities serve the rural areas more effectively. The process of urbanisation should then be seen as aiding employment and income generation in rural areas rather than as a competitive process. Larger towns serve as distribution centres for seed, fertilisers and credit for farmers as well as serving as organised markets for their produce. The bigger cities provide services and facilities to both the smaller towns as well as rural areas in their hinterland. Thus, national policy on Urban Development should view the whole range of urban settlements as having a role to play in the national development process.

23.2 That having been said, it is also important to view the provision of services in rural areas in an integrated manner. Availability of shelter, a safe water supply and facilities for hygienic sanitation are as necessary in the rural areas as in the urban. Owing to different residential densities, however, different technologies can be used in different sizes of settlements in providing these services. The Sixth Plan, therefore, addresses the problems of the spatial distribution of population, housing, water supply and sanitation in an integrated manner. Given the resource constraints, public intervention in these fields has to be highly selective and centred on the areas of greatest need. The thrust of planning measures must inevitably be toward the assistance of the poor— in rural as well as in urban areas. Priority is being given to providing sites to the rural landless along with construction assistance wherever possible. Similarly, priority is attached to providing atleast one source of safe water supply in every problem village.

23.3 The provision of safe drinking water and of sanitation is essential for all settlements whether large or small. Higher residential densities necessitate greater care in providing for efficient and timely disposal of human wastes. The current methods of excreta disposal are a serious health hazard and until these are improved, the benefits derived from other programmes will be vitiated on account of the propagation of stomach-related infections caused by the existing environmental conditions in the poor areas of our towns and cities. In particular, the health benefits derived from the provision of safe drinking water are nullified unless accompanied by appropriate sanitation measures. The Sixth Plan, therefore. views the problems of shelter and urban development as being inexorably connected with the provision of safe water supply and adequate sanitation. It is only through purposive public programmes providing essential services like water and sewerage along with low cost shelter programmes like sites and services that the urban landscape of the country can be improved to enable the urban population to function more efficiently. Particular attention must be paid to the functioning of the small, medium and intermediate cities in order to aid them in their role as market centres and as suppliers of goods and services for agriculture. The environmental and infrastructural conditions in some of these towns and cities have been neglected so long that their efficient functioning is beginning to be hampered.

23.4 As in the past, the bulk of housing for the higher income groups will continue to be provided by the private sector. In addition, in view of the constraints on public resources, there should be greater encouragement of the private sector _to step up its activities in the construction of housing for low and middle income groups. Imaginative schemes of improved facilities for financial intermediation in this sector will have ^o be, investigated in order to achieve this objective



23.5 Housing is an activity that is typically labour intensive and, therefore, fits in well with the pattern of development envisaged in this Plan. The provision of shelter is a basic need which must be met. Housing construction also creates much-needed employment for the unskilled and, therefore, income for the relatively poor.

23.6 Over the last three decades, public investments in housing through the Plans have been of the order of Rs. 1253 crores. In addition, investments by public sector enterprises, departmental undertakings and grants-in-aid institutions were about Rs. 1800 crores. Investment by the private sector during the corresponding period has been estimated to amount to about Rs. 12740 crores. It is difficult to compile adequate statistics on the number of housing units constructed through planned investments in the public sector. Housing is constructed by all levels of the Government including local Governments, State Housing Boards, State Governments, public undertakings and the Central Government.

23.7 Apart from housing constructed for government employees, the role of the public sector in the provision of housing has Oeen small. Subsidised dwellings have been provided to certain selected economically weaker sections of the community. Between 1950-51 and December 1979. 2.05 lakh houses were constructed for plantation labour and industrial workers. Housing for other low income groups totalled 3.36 lakhs. Construction of housing under various other schemes for somewhat higher income groups totalled about 1.42 lakhs. Tn the rural areas, about 77 lakh sites have been distributed and about 5.6 lakh houses constructed under the Rural House-Site-cum-House Construction Scheme.

23.8 As is evident from the above, the role of Government in the field of housing has ne'-i'ssarilv b"en rather limited. Tt was onlv during the Fifth Plan that provision was; made to provide house sites to some of the rural landless as well in addition to the schemes operating in urban areas.

23.9 A review of the various social housing schemes implsmented bv State Governments and their agencies his revealed some problems in these programmes. Tliese schemes were intended to crpito housing for Fronomicallv Weaker Sections EWS) with household income helo™ Rs 350 "er month and households ;

23.10 A review of past performance in public sector as well as private sector housing investments makes it clear that the country's housing problems—both rural as well as urban—cannot be solved in the Sixth Plan period. It should, however, be feasible to catch up with the housing requirements of the country if a sustained programme of investment and construction is undertaken over the next 20 years. This programme would attempt to cover 'the existing housing shortfalls as well as providing for the expanding population. For the Sixth Plan period, the combined public and private sector outlay is expected to be about Rs. 12900 crores; Rs. 3500 crores for rural housing and Rs. 9400 crores for urban housing. Such an outlay would yield about 13 million dwelling units in rural areas and 5.7 million units in urban areas. Reliable data on investment in private housing are not easily available. However, the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) has estimated that gross capital formation in residential buildings in the private sector (including public sector undertakings) was about Rs. 2243 crores in 1976-77. If we assume the share of public sector undertakings to be not more than Rs. 50 crores, gross capital formation in housing in the private sector would have been around Rs. 2200 crores in 1976-77. It is then safe to assume that private sector investment will not be less than Rs. 11500 crores during 1980— 85 Sixth Plan period. An investment of Rs. 1302 crores is proposed in the public sector. Additional investments by public sector enterprises, departmental undertakings and grants-in-aid institutions may be of the order of Rs. 250—300 crores. Since the public sector outlay will necessarily be small in relation to the total investment, maximum benefit from such an outlay will be achieved if public resources are largely devoted to low cost schemes such as "sites and services".


23.11 It is clear that housing conditions in the country are rather poor. A large number of people either live without any shelter whatsoever or in units below the lowest possible standards. The obiectives of the Plan ğrs therefore, to reduce substantially the number of absolutely shelterless people atad to provide conditions for others to improve their housing environment. Specifically, the obiectives of the Sixth Five Year Plan are as follows:

(i) Provision of house-sites and assistance for the construction of dwellings for rural landless labourers This will normally include an element of housing extension services to assist in proper planning of layouts, sanitation. efc.

(ii) In view of the severe constraints of public resources, public sector social housing schemes will be designed to benefit the maximum number of people. They will, therefore, be directed towards the economically weaker sections of the community and designed so that they are within their paying capacity. For the rest, investment policies would be framed so as to promote and encourage self-help housing. In addition, resources of institutional agencies like HUDCO and State Housing Boards will need to be augmented to enable them to provide infras-tructural facilities as a means of encouraging housing in the private sector. Care, however, must be taken to avoid subsidies in these activities.

(iii) Specific efforts must be made to secure a reduction in costs in public housing schemes by reviewing standards and by using cheap and alternative building materials. This will necessitate the promotion of research in building technology and the development of cheap and local building materials. Attention should also be paid to the possibilities of energy conservation in construction technology by utilising existing materials in local use in the construction of shelter. The programme for the provision of shelter should be linked with sanitation programmes such that the potential of deriving energy from human wastes can also be realised.

23.12 In order to achieve these objectives, specific attention will have to be given to:

  1. housing activity in smali, medium and intermediate towns which have been neglected hitherto;
  2. low cost housing techniques including existing local methods so as to bring down unit costs;
  3. the modification of existing building bye-laws, land use controls, minimum plot requirements and land requirements for roads which often make it difficult to reduce the costs of shelter;
  4. the avoidance of direct subsidies in urban housing. In the case of higher and middle income housing, subsidies should be totally avoided. For low income housing, where some direct subsidies are inevitable, they should preferably be in the form of infras-tructural and sanitation facilities which improve the environment for people to invest in their own shelter;
  5. greater stimulus and support to private housing in the middle and lower income groups so that there are incentives to channelise savings into housing construction.

Rural Housing

23.13 The Minimum Needs Programme places a high priority on the provision of house sites and assistance for construction of houses for the rural landless workers. It is estimated that the number of eligible families needing housing assistance would be around 14.5 million families by March 1985. Of these, 7.7 million landless families have already been allotted house sites, leaving about 6.8 million families who are still without a site. The Plan proposes to provide sites to all the remaining landless families. Of the families who have been provided sites only, about 0.56 million families have so far been given construction assistance. This leaves about 13.9 million families who will still need such housing construction assistance. About 25 per cent of these eligible families, i.e. about 3.6 million families, will be provided assistance with construction during 1980—85, with the balance being provided for in the following years. Provision is being made for Rs. 250 per family for developed plots, approach roads and a masonry tube-well for each cluster of 30 to 40 families. Construction assistance is expected to amount to Rs. 500 per family. This assumes that all labour inputs will be supplied by the beneficiaries. These provisions involve a total outlay of about Rs. 354 crores for the programme, Rs. 170 crores for the provision of sites and about Rs. 184 crores for construction assistance.

23.14 It should be the endeavour of all States to provide outlays of at least this magnitude in the Sixth Plan and Annual Plans. While it is expected that all families currently without sites will be provided sites under this programme by 1985, the next Plan will have to ensure that construction assistance js available for those remaining in need.

23.15 It is recognised that with this kind of assistance house's will have to be built with only mud walls and tiled roofs but it is essential that an attempt is made in the next five years that this highly deprived group of landless rural labour, who currently have no land, are able to obtain this barest minimum of shelter. Therefore, in order to implement this programme, it is proposed that in every district, organisations are set up at the tehsil, taluka and block level for the disbursement of the housing subsidy to the eligible families. These organisations should assist in developing layouts and housing plans for these clusters of houses such that appropriate access as well as drainage is available for these sites. Where possible and desired, community latrines and bathing places will also be established. Attempts should also be made to obtain all materials locally, e.g., roof tiles and drain tiles from local potteries. Tt would also help if the beneficiaries of these local organisations can help with guidance in the design of their houses within the given constraints. The National Buildings Organisation, State Housing Boards and the HUDCO have plans on hand to prefer improved design types for u'se in the rural areas.

23.16 In general, the State Governments are implementing the programme on the basis of norms and standards visualised in the Plan. However, some State Governments are currently implementing the programme on a more ambitious scale involving larger amounts of subsidies and loans. Given the limitations of resources. State Governments will make every effort to adhere to the norms and standards suggested in the Plan in order to ensure that the target of constructing 3.6 million houses is achieved during the Plan.

23.17 In addition to the requirements of the rural landless under the Minimum Needs Programme, there is obviously need for~0ther housing as well in rural areas. Because of the scarcity of resources there is only very limited additional public provision for rural housing in the State Plans. The Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) and General Insurance Corporation (GIC) have also entered the field of rural housing and have begun to provide loans for construction in rural areas.

Urban Housing

23.18 The public sector has only a marginal, though promotional, role to play in the provision of urban housing. It is clear, that the need is great for better and more housing in urban areas. As stated earlier, given the overall resources constraints and more pressing competing claims on public resources, the vast majority of additional housing in urban areas will have to be met from private resources. The role of the public sector will have to be restricted to the improvement of slums, the direct provision of housing to some of the urban poor and encouragement of agencies such as HUDCO which can promote the marshalling of private resource into housing in a constructive manner.

23.19 It is proposed that the strategy of attempting massive relocation of slums in urban areas should be given up in the future. Such relocation not only involves substantial hardship to those affected in terms of loss of easy access to employment centres and other amenities, but results in unnecessary destruction of existing housing capital, however sub-standard it may be. It is, therefore, important that substantially increased investments be made in the environmental improvement of slum areas. Low cost sanitation and drainage are key areas of much needed investment in the slums of our cities.

23.20 Direct public sector assistance is proposed for housing the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of the population. The strategy here is to provide 'Sites and Services' Schemes with enough funds for a minimum structure, the beneficiaries to be given loans up-to Rs. 3000 per unit repayable over a period of 20-25 years at concessional rates of interest. The Scheme relies on the expectation that the beneficiaries will themselves gradually improve the quality of accommodation in course of time. A provision of about Rs. 485 crores has been made in the Plan, with a target of about 16.2 lakh units to be constructed.

Housing and Urban Development Corporation

23.21 The bulk of the remaining public sector investment in housing is to be channelled through the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO). As on 31st July, 1980, HUDCO had sanctioned 1274 schemes in 319 towns and cities in 17 States and 4 Union Territories involving loan assistance of Rs. 600 crores, and has disbursed about Rs. 337 crores. On completion, these projects will provide about 6.8 lakh dwelling units and about 62,000 developed plots and a number of shops and commercial complexes. Of these, about 86 per cent of the plots are for the benefit of the EWS and LIG. During the current year 1980-81, HUDCO is expected to sanction loans of the order of Rs. 160 crores and disbursements are visualised at about Rs. 89 crores. In addition, HUDCO has launched new schemes like financing rural housing, apex cooperative housing societies and urban development schemes.

23.22 The Plan proposes an increase in the equity of HUDCO from the present Rs. 25 crores to Rs. 75 crores. Including the recovery of loans, it will then be able to invest about Rs. 600 crores over the next five years in its various housing programmes. Currently, HUDCO is allocating its loan disbursements in the following proportions:—

Economically Weaker Section 30%
Low Income Group 25%
Middle Income Group 25%
High Income Group 20%

HUDCO should be encouraged to step up its activities in the provision of EWS and LIG housing in the future, perhaps by utilising elements of cross subsidisation from its high income group housing and commercial activities.

LIC and other Institutional Support

23.23 The Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) is the other public financial organisation, which has provided financing for housing. Upto March 1977, the LIC has provided Rs. 728.56 crores in loans for various housing programmes. Its experience with promoting housing by linking it with insurance policies does not appear to have been too successful. Loans advanced so far under this scheme have amounted to only Rs. 53 crores. The scheme should, therefore, be reviewed and amended in order to make it more effective. LIC is statutorily required to invest 25 per cent of the net accretion to its controlled fund in socially, oriened schemes, such ^s, housing, eleci.nlication, water supply, sewerage and industrial estates. If the housing programme is to help the weaker sections of the community, who cannot otherwise benefit from the scneme ot loans to poucy holders, tUe LiC womd need substantially to increase the allocation of funds for housing for EWS and LIG. A similar principle should apply tor investments in housing being made by the General Insurance Corporation.

23.24 Cooperative housing programmes represent an ideal form of self-help housing and, therefore, need encouragement. Developed or partially developed land will be allocated to the housing cooperative societies where successful functioning has been hampered due to lack of this facility.

Urban Land Policy

23.25 A ceiling on urban land prescribed under the Urban I-and (Ceiling and Regulation) Act 1976 was meant to prevent speculation in land and to ensure the optimal allocation of land to different users. The implementation of the Act has experienced great difficulties and the State Governments have not been able to implement it effectively. A Working Group was set up in the Ministry of Works and Housing with representatives from State Governments to suggest ways and means of improving the Act. 'the Report has since been submitted to Government and is being examined. In the meantime, there is a general feeling that costs of land have increased substantially, both of private land as well as of land owned by public agencies. As a result, fears are expressed that urban housing might become too expensive for a large number of people. It would be useful, therefore, to initiate systematic investigations into -the functioning of urban land markets and to identify the causes of tlie increase in the value of land. Measures can then be recommended to promote a more efficient and equitable functioning of the urban land market so that these enormous and unwarranted increases in land values are checked.

Outlays and Targets

23.26 The public sector outlay on housing in the Sixth Plan is shown in Table 23.1.

Table 23.1 Sixth Plan Outlay on Housing
(Rs. crorss)

Scheme Fifth Plan 1974—79 (outlay) Plan outlay 1980-85
(1) (2) (3)
A. States and Union Territories
1 Rural House Site-cum-House Construction Scheme (MNP) 55-00 353-50
2 Soical Housing Schemes 450-56 837-37*
Total: States and Union Territories . 505-56 1190-87
B. Central Sector
3 Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) 14-00 50-00
4 National Buildings Organisation (NB01 1-68 2-00
5 Hindustan Prefab Ltd. 0-15 0-05
6 General- Pool Offics and Rsaidentia Accommodation .... 1 51-12 142-00
7 Subsidised Housing Scheme for Plantation Workers 5-00 11.00
8 Housing Scheme for Dock Labour 0-26 0-20
9 House Building Advance to Government Employees 93-25
10 Science and Technology 2-00
11 Police Housing Scheme @ 23-00
12 National Building Materials Corporation 0-15
13 Training Institute fur C.P.W.D 0-50
Total : Central Sector 95-36 300-00
Grand Total : States! UT and Central Sector 600-92 1490-87

"Includes Rs. 200'02crores for departmental housing and house building advance.
@Transferred to the State sector w.e.f. 1-4-1979

23.27 The major part of the public sector outlays is on social housing schemes which will also receive institutional finance. Aggregate investments ifl such schemes and the physical targets are indicated in Table 23.2.

Table 23.2  investment and Physical Targets in Social Housing 1880-85

Scheme Unit Cost (Rs.) Investment envisaged (1 Targets In lakh dwelling units and sites)
Plan HUDCO (Rs. crores) Plan HUDCO Total
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5 (6) (7)
A. Social Housing
1 EWS Housing (upto Rs. 350 p.m.) 3000 (6000) 485-70 180-00* 16-19 3-00 19-19
2 L.I.G. (Rs. 351-600 p.m.) 15000 (15000) 97-10 150-00 0-64 1-00 1-64
3 M.I.G. (Rs. 601-1500 p.m.) 25000 (33500) 51-80 150-00 0-20 0-45 0-65
4 H.I.G. (above Rs. 1500p.m.) 40000 (80000) 12-95 120-00 0-03 0-15 0-18
5 Rural Housing 500 183-50 36'70 36-70
Total A, 831- os@ 6oo- oo 53-76 4'60 5S-36
B. Rural House Sites 250 no- oo 68-00 63-00
C. Departmental Housing 35000 246-00 0-70 0-70

* Includes provision for rural housing also.
@Includes Rs. 637.35 crores of social housing in the State's sector and Rs. 10-2 crores on account of Plantation and Dock Labour Housing in the Centre.
Note : Unit costs in bracket;, represent average ceiling costs of HUDCO.


Objectives and Strategy

23.28 Urbanisation in India has grown at a relatively slow rate throughout this century as well as in the last 30 (years. This is quite consistent with the overall pattern of development that the country has experienced where the proportions of people engaged in agri-cailt'ural and non-agricultural pursuits have barely changed over this whole period. Despite this slow rate of growth, the country exhibits all the urban problems. that can be found in any part of the world. Moreover, many of these problems are aggravated by the very low per capita income observed even in large cities. Unlike many other countries where their capital cities or other metropolitan cities are excessively dominant, India exhibits a very balanced size distribution of settlements. According to the 1971 Census, out of a total population of 547.95 million, about 109 nrllion were in urban areas. The growth rate of urban population during the 1961—71 decade was about 3.2 per cent per year as compared with about 2.2 per cent per year for the total population. The distribution of the urban population between different size classes of towns in 1971, along with the inter-censal growth rates, is given in Table 23.3.

Table 23.3

0. Town Classification Number of Towns Population (million) Percentage of population Annual Rate of growth 1961-71
(0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
1 Class I (1 lakh and above) 151 53-38 48-92 4-27
2 Class II (50,000 to 99,999) 219 14-71 13-48 4-43
3 Class III (20,000 to 49,999) 652 19-95 18-29 2-36
4 Class IV (10,000 to 19,999) 987 13-96 12-80 2-11
5 Class V (5000 to 9999) 820 6-20 5-68 (--)0-22
6 Class VI (less than 5,000) 290 0-90 0-83 ( -)0-65
Total : 3119 109-10 100-00

23.29 It would appear from the Table that larger towns have grown faster than smaller towns, and it might therefore be concluded that the country is suffering from an unhealthy process of urbanization which must be remedied. The reality is, however, more complex with a great deal of inter-regional variation as well as infra-regional differences. Part of the misconception that arises from the above Table is caused by the movement of towns into higher size-classes along with the growth of population. For example, only 107 towns were classified as Class I towns in 1961 as opposed to 151 in 1971. A better appreciation of the process of urbanisation in India is obtained from the Table 23.4. The growth rates in this Table are obtained by keeping towns in each size class constant, according to their classification in the 1961 Census:

Table 23.4 Rate of Growth of Population

Size class Category Annual Rate of Growth of Population (1961—71)@
1 Class I (I lakh and above) 3-04
2 Class II and III) (20,000—99,999) ' 2-92
3 Class III, IV , V. (5,000 to 19,999) 2-86
4 Class VI (Less than 5000) 3-20

3 Growth rates compiled from information in M.K.Jain's "Inter—State Variations in the Trends of Urbanisation in India"—International Institute for Population Studies, Bombay, 1977

23.30 The process of urbanisation has thus been relatively balanced in India. Within this overall pattern, it is important to distinguish problems as they occur i-;-,/een different regions and different cities. For example, excluding West Bengal, the whole Eastern region (Orissa, Bihar, Assam) was less than 10 per cent urbanised in 1971 as compared with 28 and 31 percent for Gujarat and Maharashtra at the high end. Hence, while in the backward States the problems of urbanisation are caused by stagnation, those in the more advanced States are caused by relatively rapid growth. The articulation of national urbanisation policy should then involve specific consideration of regional problems and urban development should be viewed in the context of its relationship with rural development in each region. The problems of each urban area should be seen in the light of its specific functions within the overall settlement framework.

23.31 As in housing, public resources for urban development are necessarily limited and high priority areas for public investment have to be selected for particular attention. The thrust of the unbanisa-tion policy during the next 'decade would be to give greater emphasis to the provision of adeauate infras-tructural and other facilities in the small, medium and intermediate towns which have been neglected hitherto in this respect. The aim would be to strengthen these market centres to equip them to serve as growth and service centres Tor ths rural hinterland. For this purpose, increased investments are proposed in these towns in housing, water supply and communication facilities. Likewise, facilities for education, medical care and recreation will need to be augmented. 3'ivsn the economic importance of large, cities, caK must be taken to improve the conditions of She urban poor and raise civic services, such that the large capital investments of all kinds that exist in these cities are utilised better Given the constraints on available resources, the only way that the appalling conditions in which the urban poor live today can be improved is to adopt more realistic norms and standards for urban services. We need to adopt low cost standards for infrastructure so as to benefit the maximum number of urban people.

23.32 In order to ensure the continuance of the present balanced distribution of urban population, positive inducements need to be given for setting up new industries and other commercial and professional establishments in small, medium and intermediate cities, taking advantage of the particular special conditions available in each place. These could include appropriate concessions in respect of capital expenditures on housing, schools, entertainment facilities, power, water supply, sanitation and drainage. Power, telephone and telex connections must be improved in these towns. It is essential to strengthen local bodies organisationally as well as financially so that they can themselves improve the infrastructure and services in their towns. While these improvements are being made, tax incentives can also be considered for the location of employment generating, productive activities in these towns.

23.33 This kind of balanced approach is essential to ensure an orderly process of urbanisation along-with the overall development of the country. There has been a tendency to neglect infrastructure provision in small, medium and mtermediate cities in the past which may have restricted their role as dynamic growth centres. This must be redressed,


23.34 In the Sixth Plan, the major emphasis is placed on the following measures:

(a) Instead of attempting a massive relocation of slums, the greater emphasis would be on environmental improvement of slums for which substantially increased investment will be made. A particular area becomes a slum more because of poor environmental conditions, poor draina"e, sewerage and sanitation, rather than the poor state of structures. Of the total urban population, nearly a fifth is estimated to constitute the slum population.. In 1985, the magnitude of such population needing attention is estimated to be about 33.1 million. Of this, only 6.8 million have been covered so far by the scheme in the earlier Plans. The proposed investment of about Rs. 150 crores will benefit about 10.0 million people, assuming a per capita expenditure of Rs. 150. This scheme will be applicable to all urban areas irrespective of the size of the city/town. This forms part of the Minimum Needs Programme. The facilities that will be provided are water supply, storm water drainage, paving of streets, street lighting and provision of community latrines. Areas inhabited by scheduled castes or scavengers etc. are to be given due priority.

(b) A provision of Rs. 96 crores has been made in the Central Sector for the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Integrated Development of Small and Medium Towns. This will be in the form of assistance to the State Governments on a sharing basis. It is visualised that about Rs. 200 crores would become available from the Central, State Governments and implementing agencies for the development of about 200 towns during the Plan period. Small and medium towns with a population of less than one lakh are eligible to receive assistance from the Centre under the Scheme, provided matching contributions are forthcoming from the State Governments/ implementing agencies.

(c) In the next five years, Rs. 423 crores will be spent by the State Governments in urban development programmes. Besides including the States' share against the centrally sponsored programme of Integrated Development of Small and Medium Towns, the above provision is meant for providing facilities such as roads, pavements, minor civic works as well as such amenities as bus sheds, markets, shopping complex, theatres etc. It is expected that the State Governments would make adequate provisions for the continuing commitments and further activities in respect of the scheme of Integrated Urban Development Programme in Metropolitan Cities and Areas of National Importance, which ceased to be centrally sponsored from 1-4-1979. A sum of Rs. 247 crores is being provided for the continuing development projects in Calcutta being coordinated by the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority and aided by the world Bank. An additional sum of about Rs. 66 crores will be spent on on-going schemes in State Capital Projects in Bho-pal. Gandhinagar and Chandigarh. These outlays cover schemes to improve water supply, seweraee. roads, traffic and transportation. Provision is also being made for area development, etc. in these cities.

(d) For the National Capital Region around Delhi, a provision of Rs. 10 crores has been made. This scheme, the details of which are under review, is expected to de-concentrate economic activity from the core of Delhi into regional towns-located in U.P.. Haryana and Rajasthan.

(e) A sum of Rs. 1.60 crores is being provided for research and development in order to improve the formulation of policy on urbanisation and urban development. The roles of different sizes of towns and cities is not well understood; the relationship between urban and rural activities needs to be investigated further in order to improve the links between urban and rural areas; the comparative costs of providing infrastructure and services to large, medium and small cities need to be worked out. Finally, research is necessary to formulate policies to strengthen local bodies so that they can play a greater role in the financing 'and implementation of


23.35 Table 23.5 shows the outlay on Urban Development.

Table 23.5 Plan Outlay on Urban Development
(Rs. crores)

enae Fifth Plan 1974-79 (Outlay) Sixth Plan Outlay 1980-85
A States and Union Territories
1 Environmental Improvement of Slums 50-00 151-45
2 Urban Development Programmes 156-73 422-83
3 C.M.D.A.* and State Capital Projects 143-92 313-25
Total : A 350- 65 887-53
B Cmtral Sector
4 Integrated Development of Small and Medium Towns** 96-00
5 National Capital Region 5-09 10-00
6 Research and Devslopment 0-21 1-60
7 Integrated Urban Development Project@ 149-51
8 Development of Displaced Person Colony I5 0-05
9 Rem3val of cattle in Calcutta 2-35
Total : B . 154-81 110-00
Grand Total : States! 1. won Territories Gf Central 46 99753

Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA).
* Centrally Sponsored Scheme on a sharing basis.
@ Discontinued from the Central Sector 'vith effect from 1-4-1979.


23.36 Although a national water supply programme was launched in 1954 during the very First Five Year Plan, and progressively larger allocations were made for water supply and sanitation in the succeeding Five Year Plans, the progress made so far in the provision of safe water supply and basic sanitation can hardly be called satisfactory. The available statistics relating to the status of rural and urban water supply in India present a discouraging picture especially in the rural areas. By March 1980 about two lakh villages in the country with a population of some 160 million were yet to be provided with potable water supply facilities. The situation in the urban areas is relatively better but here too, particularly in the hundreds of smaller towns, water supply and sanitation arrangements are far from adequate. The statistics in fact do not fully portray the hardship and inconvenience that is experienced by the poor, particularly the women and the children, in areas where water is scarce, inadequate or polluted. In terms of mandays lost due to water-borne or water related diseases which constitute nearly 80 per cent of the public health problem of our country, the wastage is indeed colossal.

23.37 Until the end of the Fourth Five Year Plan, i.e. during the period 1951—74, the total investment made by the Central and State Governments Tor providing water supply and sanitation facilities was of the order of Rs. 855 crores, over 65 per cent of it in the urban areas. During this period, the water supply programme was not given a high enough priority in the national planning; process. The constraint of resources in the States and the competing demands for programmes in other sectors compelled the State and local governments to give relatively lower priority to water supply in the allocation of funds. There was also at the same time insufficient appreciation of the magnitude and complexity of the problem.

23.38 The importance of providing .safe water supply and sanitation as a basic minimum need without meeting which no improvement m the living standards of the people could take place, was reiterated in the Draft Fifth Five Year Plan 1-974—79 which included drinking water for villages .in its Minimum Needs Programme. The Draft Fifth Five Year Plan declared that adequate resources would be allocated for the programme irrespective of the resources constraints of individual States. The objective of the Minimum Needs Praeramme Ibr drinking water was to provide the facility to afl villages suffering from chronic scarcity or having unsafe sources of water. The Plan provided for an expenditure of Rs. 381 crores on rural water suooly and sanitation as compared to a total of Rs. 289 crores provided in all the previous Plans.

23.39 The Sixth Five Year Plan is being launched at a time of increasing awareness, both nationally and internationally, of the importance of safe drinking water supply in sustaining the processes of economic and human resource development and improving the quality of our environment. The drought of 1979-80, which was accompanied by an acute scarcity of drinking water in many parts of the country where wells, tanks and other sources dried up in large numbers, has added urgency to the search for a lasting solution to the problem. The global concern with the need to provide drinking water and elementary sanitation to the people in developing countries led the United Nations Water Conference at Mar del Plata (Argentina) in' 1977 to call for a ten Year campaign by member-countries and international agencies to provide access to safe water and sanitation for all people. The ten years 1981—90 have been designated as the International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade. India as a signatory to the Resolution, has pledged its full support to the action plan under the International Decade.

23.40 Considering the magnitude of the problem in a vast country like India and the constraints on resources it is obvious that we cannot afford expensive or sophisticated water supply services. Nor is it possible to have a uniform mode of water supply everywhere. The wide variety of climatic conditions and of the sources of water, surface and underground, should permit the adoption of a variety of solutions which are economical, in keeping with local needs and conditions and capable of speedy implementation. Simple, even austere, standards will be necessary so that maximum population coverage, specially of the poor and the under-privileged sections of tlie community, can be achieved within the limited funds available.

Rural Water Supply and Sanitation

23.41 Until the Third Five Year Plan drinking water supply in the rural areas was a component of the amenities scheme of the Community Development Programme. Besides, the local development works programme, taken up through voluntary labour participation, and the programme of welfare of backward classes also included schemes relating to water supply. These efforts were supplemented by the National Water Supply and Sanitation Programme of the Ministry of Health. It is estimated that by the end of 1968-69 about 1.2 million sanitary wells and hand-pumps had been constructed and piped water supply provided to some 17,000 villages. During the Third Five Year Plan, under a Central scheme, Special Investigation Divisions were estabilished in most States to make an assessment of the water supply situation especially in areas of acute scarcity and those endemic to water borne diseases. In the Fourth Five Year Plan 1969—74, the bulk of the provision for rural water supply was allocated for these areas. For this purpose, a new centrally sponsored scheme was also launched in 1972-73 to accelerate the efforts of the State Governments in meeting the needs of such areas. The programme gained further momentum during the Fifth Five Year Plan which made an allocation of Rs. 381 crores in the State Plans including Rs. 329 crores under the Minimum Needs Programme mentioned earlier. In addition, u provision of Rs. 100 crores was made in the Central Sector under the Accelerated Rural Water Supply Scheme. Available information based on reports from State Governments indicates that by the end of 1979-80 about 1.84 lakh villages had benefited from water supply schemes 'of one type or another.

23.42 The Special Investigation Divisions established during the Third Five Year Plan period were the first step in identifying villages which could be regarded as problem villages from the point of view of the quality and accessibility of drinking water sources. Preliminary data collected by these Divisions in 1964-65 indicated that about two-thirds of the rural population lived in areas where it was relatively easy to provide safe drinking water from local sources like wells. The remaining one-third lived in villages which suffered from water scarcity and where engineering skills, extra financial outlays, and time consuming works would be called for. These villages were categorised as follows:—

  1. Those which do not have an assured source of drinking water within a reasonable distance of say 1.6 kms.;
  2. those which are endemic to diseases like cholera, guinea-worm etc.; and
  3. those where the available water has an excess of salinity, iron, fluorides or other toxic elements.

The first category was defined as scarcity and difficult villages and the other two as health problem villages.

23.43 In 1971-72 a total of 1.52 lakh villages in the country were identified as being without a safe and assured source of drinking water. Of these, 90,000 villages were classified as scarcity and difficult villages and 62,000 as health problem villages. In addition, it was estimated that there were 1.85 lakh villages with a population of 160 millions which were served by simple wells.

23.44 Since 1972-73, as a result of the larger investments made in the rural water supply sector, about 95,000 problem villages have been provided with safe drinking water supply facilities by March 1980. Thus, some 57.000 villages (including those in Sikkmi) which had been identified as scarcity or health problem villages in the earlier survey remain to be provided with safe water supoly. However, various State Governments have recently reported that the earlier survev did not adeauately represent the magnitude of the problem partly because it was not complete and partly because the drought conditions in subsequent years had brought to light fresh areas which were vulnerable to wqtef scarcity. The latest data received from the Stnie Governments show that there are. at present about 1,90 1akh villages in the country which rieed to be provided water supply facilities on a priority basis.

23.45 It is worth emphasising that these figures represent only the first step in the evaluation of the problem. The type of water supply system required varies from State to State and often from one area to another within a State. It is necessary for the State Governments to work out suitable engineering solutions for covering all the needy villages so as to ensure that at least one source of potable water is available throughout the year in every such village. Details for requirement of funds, materials and equipment, staff and maintenance arrangements will have to be worked out and annual action plans prepared. The programme envisaged in the Sixth Plan has to be viewed in the perspective of a 10 year plan but during this plan period itself it will have to be limited to assnring water supplies in the rural areas through simple and inexpensive devices. In many areas a simple sanitary well with parapet and with regular cleaning and disinfection will be considered a safe and adequate source of water supply. In hard rock areas or where the water table is low, emphasis will have to be given on deep tube wells with hand-pumps. Power pumps or piped water supply schemes should only be the last alternative.

23.46 During the Sixth Five Year Plan the effort will be to cover all the problem villages of the three categories mentioned earlier. With the financial provisions made in the Plan, it will be possible to achieve this objective except in certain difficult areas in the nill and desert regions where, because of physical constraints, the programme may take a longer time. The approach in all the areas will be to provide at least one source of drinking water in every village identified as a scarcity or health problem village. Additional sources may, however, be necessary in villages with large populations or dispersed hamlets. jji particular, the needs of the scheduled caste habitations in the rural areas will have to be given priority.

23.47 Apart from the problem villages which will be covered under the Minimum Needs Programme, there are other villages where the existing sources of water supply may need improvement or augmsnta'ion. The Sixth Plan provides Rs. 128 crores for these areas. Altogether the provision for rural water supply in the Sixth Plan is Rs. 2135 crores, Rs. 600 crores in the Central Sector and Rs. 1535 crores in the StatejUnion Territory Plans.

23.48 Poor maintenance of existing water supply systems in the rura) areas continues to be a source of concern in most States. Lack of involvement of the local community in the maintenance arrangements, shortage of staff and inadequate funds for maintenance are the main reasons why the existing water supply schemes have failed to yield the expected bsnefits. It is clear that the operation of small rural water supply systems can be ensured only with the participation of the village community and institutions. Excepting very large systems covering many villages and requiring skilled supervisory staff, in most cases n should be possible for the block and village level functionaries to take care of the relatively ample operation and maintenance requirements of rural water supply schemes. A three-tier maintenance set up, with a care-taker at the village level, a mechanic at the block level and a mobile repair team at the district level, has been successfully tried in Tamil Nadu and can be adopted in other States with suitable variations. It has been noticed that wherever the maintenance arrangements are adequats, the beneficiaries are not unwilling to pay a nominal charge for the water supplied to them. The effort should in all cases be -to recover at least the operating expenses.

23.49 So far little attention has been given to the problem of rural sanitation except for some pilot projects in a few States. It is estimated that almost 98 per cent of the rural house-holds do not have any latrines. Keeping in view the present position of rural sanitation and the limitation of budgetary resources sanitation facilities can be provided to only 25 per cent of the rural population by the end of the Decade. Much more can, however, be done in this area through self-help schemes organised by the village community. Simple low cost designs of water-seal latrines have already been developed in many areas. Extension efforts will need to be made on a large scale to assist the village organisations in the adoption and use of these designs, with such local modifications as may be necessary. The UN Resolution on the International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade calls for basic sanitation facilities being made available to all citizens by 1990. This objective can be attained only through large scale mobilisation of voluntary effort at the village level.

23.50 The effort in the Sixth Five Year Plan is to make a modest beginning in this direction by undertaking pilot, projects in all States which would help in making an assessment of the community attitudes in the rural areas to the type of latrines to be provided and the nature of sanitation facilities needed.

Urban Water Supply and Sanitation

23.51 According to information supplied by the State Governments, the number of towns and population provided with piped water supply systems are as shown in the following table:—

Table 23.6

Class of urban area Total number of towns Number served Total population (in lakhs) Population served^ lakhs)
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
Class I (over 100,000) 151 149 533-80 506-72
Class 11 (50,000 to 99,999) 219 206 147-12 124-80
Class 111 (20,000 to 49,999) 652 542 199-47 151-97
Class IV (10,090 to 19,999) 987 649 139-61 85-04
Class V (5,039 to 9,999) 820 423 61-97 31-71
Class vl (below 5,POO) 290 123 8-96 3-59
total 3119 2092 1090-93 903-83

23.52 Some features of the present coverage of water supply services in the urban areas may be mentioned. Wmie towns with nearly 84 per cent ot the urban population have been provided with drinking water facilities, the population coverage is partial and uneven. Even in the larger cities many of the newer settlements and areas inhaoited by the economically weaker sections continue to be without adequate water supply. Further, out of the 1027 towns still lacking drinking waler supply facilities, as many as 902 belong to the group of towns which have a population of less than 20,000. It is in these smaller towns that the population served by drinking water facilities is 50 per cent or even less. In the past, the bulk of plan investments in urban water supply has gone to the larger cities and the smaller towns have in consequence continued to suffer.

23.53 The po^iljon in regard to urban sewerage and sanitation is even less satisfactory. Out of the 3,119 towns, only 198 have been provided with sewerage facilities. Even in respect of class I cities having a population of one lakh and above, only 46 per cent have arrangements for sewerage and sewage treatment. The overall population coverage in the urban areas is about 20 per cent.

23.54 Water supply and sewerage programmes in the urban areas should be considered an integral part of urban development. While the pressing need of providing adequate water supply and sewerage facilities in the larger cities, especially in the high density areas populated by the' low income groups and economically weaker sections, must continue to receive priority, greater attention needs to be given in the Sixth Five Year Plan to the needs of smaller and medium size towns which have been neglected in the past. The Sixth Plan lays considerable emphasis on the integrated development of small and medium size towns and the environmental improvement of slums. Water supply and sewerage schemes have to be dovetailed in this programme. The Town and Country Planning Organisations in the States which have the responsibility of preparing master plans for these areas have to ensure that adequate provision is made for water supply and sewerage facilities in the formulation and implementation of these plans.

23.55 Some effort has recently been made to evolve low cost techniques for urban sanitation. The UNDP Global Project in India is intended to assist and promote the installation of water-seal latrines in 110 towns in 7 States, viz., Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and U.P. The Project aims at adopting appropriate technologies which would be particularly helpful in the smaller towns. Pilot projects are to be taken up in these Staies to provide low cost water-seal latrines with on-site disposal of human waste.

23.56 During the Sixth Plan, priority would be given to the completion of on-going urban water supply and sewerage schemes, including augmentation of the existing systems in the larger cities. It is expected that about 930 urban water supply schemes and 120 urban sewerage and drainage schemes will be completed during this period. In addition, it is proposed that new schemes of water supply will be taken up in about 550 towns and sewerage schemes in 110 towns.

23.57 As in the rural areas, the maintenance of urban water supply schemes, particularly in the small municipalities, is unsatisfactory. The poor quality of maintenance results mainly from the unwillingness of the local bodies to levy water rates and the inability of the State Governments to provide adequate non-plan grants for maintenance purposes. Urban water supply and sewerage schemes are highly capital intensive and there is a strong case for recovery from the beneficiaries at least the interest and operation and maintenance charges to start with.


23.58 The outlays for Water Supply and Sanitation Sector in the Sixth Five Year Plan are as under:

Table 23.7
(Rs. crores)

Scheme Fifth Plan (1974-79) Sixth Plan (1980-85)
1 State Plans
(i) Rural Water Supply and Sanitation of which M.N.P. 381-24 (329-27) 1554-24 (1407-11)
(ii) Urban Water Supply and Sanitation 539-17 1753-56
Total: State Plan 920-41 3307-80
2 Central Plan
(a) Central Sector:
(i) Prevention and Control of Water and Air pollution 0-80 12-00
(ii) Other programmes . 0-93 2-22
(b) Centrally Sponsored Schemes
(i) Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme 103-00* 600-03
(ii) Other programmes . 8-54
Total; Central Plan 110-27 614-22
Grand total 1030-68 3922-02

"Outlay provided subsequent to the finalisation of the Fifth Plan.

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