Land of a Billion- Ep 7: How Can We Make Indian Cities More Affordable and Resilient?

How successful are urban policies in assuring access to housing and services among vulnerable sections?

As urban areas became the epicentres of COVID-19, it sparked several conversations about the frailties of Indian cities — the lack of affordable housing, lack of adequate social safety nets, public health risks owing to poor sanitation, and most importantly, the vulnerabilities of informal settlements.
In this episode of the ‘Land of a Billion’ podcast, we speak with researchers Vaidehi Tandel and Sahil Gandhi, to unpack such housing paradoxes in our cities, and we look at the underlying issues that the pandemic has put forth around effective affordable housing and sustainable urban planning.


To what extent are our urban policies successful in assuring access to housing and services among vulnerable sections? How do the underlying governance frameworks in our cities affect the outcomes of these policies? Can secure land rights catalyse our transition towards more inclusive and resilient urban centers?

Why is it that despite many affordable public housing schemes like the Central Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), a large number of houses built under them remain unoccupied? Why haven’t they been able to effectively manage the gaps in affordable housing? Further, in the private housing market, why is it that a large number of landlords intentionally leave their houses vacant despite significant demand for housing?

Tune in to find out!


Vaidehi Tandel is a junior fellow at the IDFC Institute, Mumbai.
Sahil Gandhi is a visiting fellow at the Centre for Social and Economic Progress (CSEP- formerly Brooking India).


Land of a Billion is the exclusive podcast for conversations about land and property rights in India, produced by PRRC in association with The Quint. New episodes out every alternate Monday. Available on all major streaming platforms, do subscribe! 

Don’t forget to catch the next episode, which will be the last in this series, where we’ll be in conversation with former IAS officer, Dr KP Krishnan, who is currently the IEPF Chair Professor in Regulatory Economics at NCAER and the Steering Committee Chair at the Property Rights Research Consortium, on the land reforms that India has witnessed and its impact on the country’s economy.