Cooperative Housing now no more just a decent means of providing affordable shelter. But it has come a long way to be one of the basics of urban development model. In this post, I will try to recapitulate, chronologically, the history of cooperative housing as it took birth and shape in Indian soil.
- History of cooperative housing in India dates back to the British rule in the Indian subcontinent. Britishers first introduced the concept of cooperative living mainly to aid small-scale farmers in securing shelter and get better access to rural credit.
- 1904 – First Cooperative Societies Act was adopted that included only credit cooperatives then.
- 1909 – India’s first housing cooperative, Bangalore Building Cooperative Society, was founded in the State of Mysore (then).
- 1912 – Cooperative Societies Act was amended to grant registration to the non-credit societies as well, including housing and administration, at the State level.
- 1913 – Bombay Cooperative Housing Association, a non-official body, was founded by the State of Bombay (then). The body spearheaded the propagation of the concept of cooperative housing societies.
- 1919 – Cooperative Societies Act was further amended to allow the registered societies (both credit and non-credit, to adopt the legislation to prioritize local needs.
- After this, the development of cooperative housing remained marginal and mellowed down due to inadequate organizational support and non-supportive legislative and administrative frameworks until the 1950s
- 1950 – This year saw a major spike towards the development of cooperative housing as about 4,000 houses were built and 12,000 were under construction by 273 housing co-operatives in the State of Madras whereas, in the State of Bombay, 3,500 houses were built, 229 were under construction by 315 housing co-operatives.
- 1964 – Working Group on Housing Cooperatives released its report which marked a turning point for the Indian housing cooperatives as it stated that housing cooperatives are the best means to provide decent housing to the lower income groups.
- 1969 – National Co-operative Housing Federation of India was founded as led by the recommendation of the report of the Working Group on Housing Cooperatives.
- 1988 – National Commission on Urbanisation inferred that housing should, from then on, not restrict itself to the aim of providing shelter, it should explore the broader context of urban development.
- 1988 – United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS) steered Governments to adopt an “enabling approach” towards housing, i.e. supporting the role of the private and third sectors in housing instead of direct public intervention. Consequently, India along with its states removed legislative barriers to facilitate the participation of the sectors.
From then on, Housing cooperatives in India, flourished leaps and bounds providing housing to lakhs and lakhs of people. Also, they mark the very face of urban development.
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