In-situ Slum Redevelopment (India)

 “Instead of a neighbourhood characterised by misery, I find a bustling and enterprising place, packed with smallscale industries defying their circumstances to flourish amidst squalor. Rather than pity, I am inspired by man’s alchemic ability to thrive when the chips are down.” -Simon Crerar

Fiasco of System

The authorities of Mumbai city were appalled by the increase in the number of slum dwellers in the past few years, even after recent intervention by the ULB (Urban Local Body) the slum problem seemed to increase two folds. The current growth of slum population marked the fifth consecutive failure of Slum Rehabilitation as earlier being intervention were done in 1972, 1976, 1985 and 1995.

It all started in 2004 when the government proposed a Dharavi Redevelopment Project in which developers would relocate and rehouse Dharavi’s residents in 300 square feet apartments built-in high rise tower blocks, thus freeing up space for their development projects. Residents feel that a tower structure destroys the sense of community that has allowed Dharavi ‘s micro-industries to thrive for so many years, and dramatically increases the region’s already alarming population density.

Mumbai Insitu Redevelopment

In Mumbai, slum rehabilitation is performed through a state-operated agency called the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA). It is responsible for the evaluation and approval of slum redevelopment proposals submitted by developers. In the entire rehabilitation process, the developers have full discretion on the quality of rehabilitated buildings, which affects the living standards, so much so that, these rehabilitation buildings are transformed into ‘vertical slums” (Debnath, 2018). It forces the occupants to abandon these houses, either moving back to the horizontal slums or creating an informal settlement in some other parts of town. We called it a ‘rebound phenomenon’ in this phase in slum rehabilitation

Slum rehabilitation and up-gradation programs have always been a primarily political agenda of the Government of India. These programs are designed in a top-down manner to construct public housing that would improve housing standards and close the housing deficit. However, little is known about the after-effects of these policies on the occupants’ overall well-being. Market forces regarding land and finance drive the entire slum rehabilitation process that creates intense competition for the slum lands among the private developers (j.Nijman, 2008)

United Nations Human Settlement Program had estimated that China (180 million) and India (104 million) had the higher number of slum dwellers in the world in 2012, and these numbers are set to increase in the next decade owing to their urbanisation trend (Y.Zhang, 2016), which will make the rehabilitation of slums even more difficult and costly.

Articles Related to Slums:

  1. What is a Slum?
  2. Pragmatic Approach to Slum Rehabilitation in Mumbai City (Part 1 of 4)
  3. Pragmatic Approach to Slum Rehabilitation in Mumbai City (Part 2 of 4)
  4. Pragmatic Approach to Slum Rehabilitation in Mumbai City (Part 3 of 4)
  5. Pragmatic Approach to Slum Rehabilitation in Mumbai City (Part 4 of 4)
  6. Relocation of Slum People: Case Study of Mumbai Railway Slum Relocation
  7. Sites of entitlement: claim, negotiation & struggle in Mumbai | Review
  8. Mumbai Slum Rehabilitation – Communicative Dimension of Critical Spatial Theory

In-situ Alternative

The “in-situ” slum rehabilitation approach aims to leverage the locked potential of land under slums to provide houses to eligible slum dwellers to bring them into the formal urban settlement.

Where the slum dwellers will be guided to develop their informal dwellings to formal housing by getting a direct supply of water and sanitation facilities along with converting kaccha and semi-kaccha houses into pucca units, as most slum dwellers in Mumbai are not official impoverished who reside below the poverty line, but well-educated, middle-class residents who are deprived of sufficient accommodation (Y.Zhang, 2016)

This method uses the land as a resource with private participation for providing houses to eligible slum dwellers making it an important component of the “Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) – Housing for All” mission (Urban Development, 2019), which in the long run transform the slum area into becoming the part of the city, in other words, de-notifying (removing it from slum list) the slum.

Methods to guide the development

Land Titling

The method changes the practice of eviction and treating people as encroachers to recognising the large economic potential and contributions to the life of the city by providing them with land rights (right to live and develop but not selling rights). The method has two interlaced objectives: the first is to improve the living conditions of slum dwellings and second, to provide security against the threats of demolition and eviction. (S. Singh, 2018). Hernando de Soto stated that land without a title is dead capital as “asset that cannot easily be bought, sold, valued or used an investment”, his work reveals that even those who live in slums possess far more capital than anyone realises, as the land that they occupy can be used as collateral once legalised.

Property Tax approach

For the success of this approach, ULBs have to take initiative in providing basic services to the slum dwellers (like direct water supply, sanitation network, community toilets, electricity, road network, etc) without taking any kind of payments or fees. After a few months when the dwellers get used to the faculties, the imposition of property taxation can be done in this manner they are getting a legal notice of ownership and can use it for applying for a mortgage.

Additional FSI

This method is targeted to lure private players to invest in slum development, slum developers can benefit from higher saleable area incentives for redeveloping slum pockets situated in non-prime areas of the city (S.Ashar, 2018). To shift the thatched dwelling units into pucca houses by making use of the extra FSI (Floor Space Index) which means extra floors added to the house, these can be benefited by renting it or using it for commercial purpose.

Land Sharing

In this case, the ULB will sell part or complete slum land to a private developer, two cases would take place for the first case developer would provide In-situ up-gradation by providing basic service and infrastructure to slum dwellers, though the complete development of the land would not take place but the slum occupant will be given collective lad rights and can use it as collateral. In the second case of complete land sold, the developer would allocate a certain per cent of the land for high rise housing for slum dwellers while selling the other part of housing units to earn a profit, but in this case, the house cannot be used as collateral as in the earlier case. (D. Mahadevia, R.Joshi, & T.Gogoi, 2010)

Inclusion in PMAY

The Delhi Development Authority has begun surveying JJ clusters for their in-situ development under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, officials said. The urban body is the nodal agency for the implementation of in-situ development of JJ clusters on land owned by the DDA and the central government in the national capital. (Economic Times ).

Other Indian cities like Bengaluru(565 slums), Ahmadabad (417 slums), Pune (477) have also taken this approach to solve slum growth

Some of the main features of in-situ development in the scheme are:-

  • Slum Redevelopment using land as a resource with private participation
  • Slums on Central Government land/State Government land/ULB land
  • Slum rehabilitation grant of  1 lakh per house on an average.
  • Flexibility to States/Cities to deploy this central grant for other slums being redeveloped
  • States/Cities to provide additional FSI/FAR or TDR to make projects financially viable
  • Land cost not to be charged by Central Govt. Agencies
  • Slums on Private Owned Land
  • States/Cities to provide additional FSI/FAR or TDR  to land owner as per its policy
  • No Central Assistance


Subrajoti Paul
Member Of NOSPlan
School of Planning and Architecture, Vijaywada


  • D.Mahadevia, R.Joshi, & T.Gogoi. (2010). Land tenure for Slum free cities. Ahmedabad: CEPT university.
  • Debnath, R. (2018). Issuu. Retrieved from Slum Rehabilitation:
  • Economic Times . (n.d.). Retrieved from Delhi Development Authority begins survey of JJ clusters for in-situ development under PMAY:
  • Gurnani, K. (2017). Redeveloping Dharavi: The case of slum redevelopment in Mumbai . Singapore: Lee Kuan Yew.
  • j.Nijman. (2008). Against the odds: Slum rehabilitation in neoliberal Mumbai. Mumbai: Elsevier.
  • PMAY. (n.d.). Ministry of Housing Affairs. Retrieved from
  • S.Ashar. (2018, 8 29). Indian Express. Retrieved from Mumbai: State government set to lift FSI cap on slum clusters:
  • S.Singh. (2018, 8 4). Observer Reaseach Foundation. Retrieved from Odisha’s land titling attempt: A step in the right direction:,a%20valid%20proof%20of%20residence.
  • UrbanDevelopment, A. G. (2019). Governmant of Assam. Retrieved from Urban Development:
  • Y.Zhang. (2016, March 3). Wilson Centre. Retrieved from Building a Slum-Free Mumba:


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