Over the past few years, Haryana has often been in the news for its remarkable economic growth and for the achievement of prosperity in the state. The per capita income of Haryana was found to be higher than Maharashtra, the financial hub of India. The development that is expected along with such phenomenal economic growth, though, is sadly missing. The number of homeless people in Haryana has grown phenomenally, according to the 2011 census. In 2001, there were about 14.2 lakh slum dwellers in the state; this number too has seen a growth in the past fifteen years. With a total population well over 25,353,081 (2011 stats) and a geographical area of 44,212 square kilometers affordable housing and infrastructure development are key needs of the state.
According to the census of India, homeless households are defined as families that do not have access to or are unable to live in houses but live in open areas including roadsides, pavements, railway platforms, and in places of worship such as temples, gurdwaras, mosques, churches etc. The 2011 census highlights the problem in Haryana by ranking it among the top 3 states in the country that have been least successful in eradicating homelessness.
Haryana government's schemes to tackle the concern have hitherto been ineffective. The much talked-about Affordable Housing scheme has also currently been stalled. The scheme which intended to provide 30,000 residential apartments in Gurgaon has now come up against major roadblocks. The national capital region planning board (NCRPB) has not yet approved the sub regional development plan reported by Haryana state. The Supreme Court had directed the state government to build 24*7 shelters for the homeless at least one for every lakh population. Apart from this the state was to build separate Night Shelters for men and women. While the project was initiated in Faridabad, Rewari, Sirsa, and Sonepat, the construction of adequate centers at other cities like Hansi, Yamunanagar, and Jagadhri still remains a major issue.
The Naya Haryana vision of a state with complete eradication of homelessness and provision of shelter for everyone is still a distant one. This can be achieved by immediately directing attention and resources to building affordable homes and shelters in both urban and semi-urban regions. With increase in the number of Night Shelters with toilets and amenities and 24*7 shelters, specialized protective homes for destitute and orphaned women. Only a state where the basics of living are provided for is likely to prosper. A safe state is one where none of the homeless will ever need to battle the ravages of the searing heat or biting cold from the stony footpaths.