Should DDA housing schemes be reserved for Delhiites only?

As a Diwali bonanza, on 26th August 2014, the Delhi Development Authority announced its much-awaited housing scheme for 2014 after a gap of 4 years when it had its last housing scheme. This time it is bigger and more attractive with more than 25,000 flats in different categories to be sold in different locations in Delhi at half the market rates. The DDA authorities announced that the sale of housing forms will start from September 1st 2014. This is supposed to be the biggest sale so far for DDA and it has been announced at the right time, just with the onset of the festive season.

However, the proposal for 80% reservation of DDA flats to Delhiities only was scrapped by Najeeb Jung, the Lt. Governor of Delhi, who is also the chairperson of DDA. All citizens of the country above the age of 18 are eligible to apply for a DDA flat.

In the wake of refusal of the proposal of 80% reservation for Delhiites, Delhi BJP members requested Najeeb Jung to reconsider the decision as Delhiites may suffer a setback in this case considering the number of applicants from outside the state.

Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay requested in an official letter to LG Najeeb Jung to allot 80% of flats for the people of Delhi only. According to the Delhi BJP chief, a person who has a permanent job or business in Delhi or a person who is a voter in Delhi should be given more preference. He also mentioned that many other states in India offer such Government beneficiary schemes to their citizens and there are usually no interference from people of other states. Delhi should also give such benefits of housing schemes to the Delhiites who are living in Delhi for many years and do not have houses of their own.

Who exactly is a Delhiite? How do you define a Delhiite?

Who is a Delhiite is not as simple a question as it appears.

According to the urban dictionary, a Delhiite is someone who lives in Delhi or who has been brought up in the city of Delhi. It can also be used for people living in the NCR region, if they had lived earlier in Delhi for quite a few years and then moved to Noida or Gurgaon for any reason.

Just as we have a Punjabi, An Assamese, a Mumbaikar or a Bangalorean, so also we have a Delhiite. The difference is that a Delhiite has his roots belonging to some other state of the country. The truth about Delhi people is that everyone belongs to some other part of the country, their parents, their forefathers came from some other states and they have finally settled here in Delhi.

This capital city of our country is fascinating because here majority comes from a different part of India, and they bring with them their own traditions, language, and food habits. So it is really very difficult to say who is a Delhiite. A Delhiite can be an Assamese, a Punjabi or a Mumbaikar, and so on.

Should there be 80% reservation for Delhiites in Delhiā€™s housing schemes?

My answer to the question is NO. Since Delhi is the capital of India, every citizen of India has a right to have a place in Delhi. To own a home in Delhi is a dream come true. Delhi is home to many people from all across the country. Some come here to study, some for jobs, some as daily wage labourers and so on. There are many who came and settled here permanently. People from other states come here for greener pastures and then settle here. So how can we have a 80-20 reservation? There might be some people who have come to the state recently and do not have a voter ID card but that cannot be the reason for not allotting him or her a flat in Delhi. Basically, Delhi is a miniature version of the entire country where all states of India resides. It is actually very difficult to choose who all are proper Delhiites. We cannot say that Delhi belongs only to the Delhiites because logically seen, almost majority of Delhiites, have their origins from some other states.

Hence there is no question for reservation of 80% flats. The Delhi Development Authority has rightly announced the 2014 housing scheme for all Indians.

The issue will definitely trigger more uneasy but sensible questions that will have wider political and economic ramifications sooner or later. Guess?

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