In the Federal structure of the Indian polity, the matters pertaining to the housing and urban development have been assigned by the Constitution of India to the State Governments. The Constitutions (74th Amendment) Act have further delegated many of these functions to the urban local bodies. The constitutional and legal authority of the Government of India is limited only to Delhi and other Union Territories and to the subject which State Legislatures authorize the Union Parliament to legislate.
However, the provisions of the Constitution notwithstanding, the Government of India plays a much more important role and exercise a larger influence to shape the policies and programmes of the country as a whole. The National Policy issues are decided by the Government of India which also allocates resources to the State Governments through various Centrally Sponsored schemes, provides finances through national financial institutions and supports various external assistance programmes for housing and urban development in the country as a whole. Policies and programme contents are decided at the time of formulation of Five Year Plans. The indirect effect of the fiscal, economic and industrial location decisions of the Government of India exercise a far more dominant influence on the pattern of urbanisation and real estate investment in the country.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation is the apex authority of Government of India at the national level to formulate policies, sponsor and support programme, coordinate the activities of various Central Ministries, State Governments and other nodal authorities and monitor the programmes concerning all the issues of urban employment, poverty and housing in the country.
The Ministry was constituted on 13th May, 1952 when it was known as the Ministry of Works, Housing & Supply. Subsequently it was renamed as Ministry of Works & Housing when a separate Ministry of Supplies came up. The name of the Ministry was changed to Ministry of Urban Development in September, 1985 in recognition of the importance of urban issues. With the creation of a separate Department of Urban Employment & Poverty Alleviation on 8th March, 1995, the Ministry came to be known as the Ministry of Urban Affairs & Employment. The Ministry had two Departments: Department of Urban Development & Department of Urban Employment & Poverty Alleviation. The two Departments were again merged on 9th April, 1999 and in consequence thereto, the name has also been restored to "The Ministry of Urban Development". This Ministry was bifurcated into two Ministries viz. (i) "Ministry of Urban Development" and (ii) "Ministry of Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation" with effect from 16.10.1999. These two Ministries were again merged into one Ministry on 27.5.2000 and named as "Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation" with two Departments. They are (i) Department of Urban Development and (ii) Department of Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation.
From 27-5-2004, the Ministry has again been bifurcated into two ministries viz : (i) Ministry of Urban Development; and (ii) Ministry of Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation (Now Known as Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation ).
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation is headed by Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation. The Hon'ble Minister joined on 28-05-2014.
Dr. Nandita Chatterjee is the Secretary of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA). She is assisted by three Joint Secretaries.