Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), India’s flagship affordable housing policy, has been ushered in at an interesting cusp of history. Never before has an experiment to meet housing needs of the country’s teeming millions been tried at this scale. In doing so, PMAY has brought the age-old question of what constitutes a ‘house’ to the centre of policy debate and planning.
Are four walls and a roof enough to declare a construction a house? Does the term also engender questions of comfort and liveability? How much importance should the design and construction of a house pay to environmental sustainability in our climate-constrained era? How can resource efficiency and thermal comfort remain affordable for low income groups?
This policy brief raises these and more questions, and suggests ways in which PMAY can deal with them.