Efforts at localising Rural Housing and Habitat Programs

A search for evidence based solution for a local, integrated model of rural habitat improvement

Rural habitats are inherently ‘localised’, reflecting a closer relationship with locally available materials and skills, adaptation of housing and settlement patterns to climate and culture, initiated and financed by home-owners, and relying on community consensus. 

Despite an enhanced role of Government programs in Rural areas, housing is predominantly a people sector activity – what is known as the ‘social production of houses and habitat’. In addition, formal housing delivery systems are typically designed to reach wider scale and have made heavy investments in rural India but these houses do not necessarily fit into the rural context or do justice to the combined work-livelihood activities that exist. 

Yet, the relevance and reach of Government programs is important to acknowledge and within this understanding INHAF has worked towards articulating suggestions to improve a collective understanding of rural housing needs and impact existing delivery systems.


  • 2012 February, INHAF participated at the National workshop organised by the Ministry of Rural Development through the National Institute of Rural Development, to review guidelines of the Indira Awas Yojana, a national rural housing subsidy program.
  • Kirtee Shah worked as a Chairperson for a HUDCO appointed Committee for Rejuvenation and Strengthening the Building Centre Network in India analysed reasons for the failure of the Building Centres and suggested sustainable ways to reactivate and develop them.
  • 2013-14, Invitation by Sri Lankan Government to Kirtee Shah to advise their program implementation strategy on construction of 50,000 houses for internally displaced persons and other war victims in the northern and eastern provinces of Sri Lanka which was recently recognised by the World Habitat Awards.
  • Made series of presentations to the Ministry of Rural Development, GoI, to introduce the role of people facilitation in project implementation as a way to improve the delivery system focused on owner initiated self help construction, learning from the Sri Lanka model.
  • 2013 December, Proposal by INHAF to set up a National taskforce on rural housing and habitat including suggested ToR and names of members was accepted with Kirtee Shah as representative on the taskforce. Two meetings were held with this 15-member taskforce but is now dormant.


2013, Letter to Jairam Ramesh, Ministry of Rural Development titled ‘Indira Awas Yojana and the Rural Housing Scene in India’

2013, Taskforce proposal to Rural Minister ‘Task Force on Rural Housing and Habitat: To Further Improve IAY Outcomes and Strengthen People Processes in Rural Housing and Habitat.’

2013-14, ‘Housing for the war victims in Sri Lanka’ by Kirtee Shah