Despite this, there is a huge shortage of housing in urban India. The latest official Economic Survey says there is a shortage of nearly 20 million homes in India. Many of these houses lying vacant have been bought as investments by people who have ‘extra’ money to invest. A substantial portion – no one knows how much – of this is black money on which taxes haven’t been paid. Hence, homes have been bought but nobody is living in them.
As per the 2011 Census, 13.7 million households in Indian cities live in slums. The number of people living in these slums is around 65 million and forms around 17.4 per cent of the urban population. Other estimates put the slum population living in Indian cities at a much higher level. If the homeless and the slum dwellers had to rise in a wave of fury and forcibly occupy the millions of uninhabited houses as well as the opulent and sparsely inhabited palaces and mansions of the Ambanis and other corporate kings and Bollywood stars, the housing problem would have been squarely dealt with.
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