The Delhi Development Authority: Accumulation without Development

By Shahana Sheikh and Ben Mandelkern
14 December 2014

In 1957, India’s central government endowed the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) with a monopoly over planning and development in the capital, including the construction of housing. Today, the Authority owns about a quarter of Delhi’s land and is involved in almost every activity related to land, housing, and infrastructure in the city.

This report finds that while the DDA has been relatively efficient and successful at tasks such as acquiring land and providing high end amenities, it has been extremely slow to accomplish others, like building and allotting low-income housing. The resulting housing shortfall is exacerbated by the fact that the DDA regularly demolishes unplanned settlements on land it controls, often destroying many more housing units than it creates. We trace the DDA’s challenges to two factors. First, the DDA is accountable to the Government of India, not to the local or state governments elected by Delhi’s residents, distancing its accountability structures from the needs of the city. Second, its internal structure is marked by a deep divide between the higher-level management and lower-level implementation staff.

A report of the Cities of Delhi project.