The Union Government has merged the Ministries of Urban Development and Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation to form the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
With this merger, the Union Government now has 51 ministries. In 2004, there were total 42 ministries. The first government in independent India had just 17 ministries.
The merger of ministries involved in policy making in urban areas into single ministry will help to ensure cohesiveness in formulating policies related to urban issues and cut the flab in bureaucracy.
These two ministries have a long history of mergers and de-mergers. This is third time the ministries have been merged. In 1952, they were one ministry which was known as the Ministry of Works, Housing and Supply. They were demerged in 1999, merged again in 2000 and bifurcated again in 2004.
The recent merger of ministries was based on the recommendation of a panel of secretaries. The panel in February 2017 had recommended the merger of the two ministries to increase efficiency in governance. It had recommended that the ministries of housing and urban poverty alleviation, and urban development be merged and that the AYUSH and pharmaceuticals ministries be brought under the Health Ministry. The panel also recommended the need to corporatise the Central Public Works Department (CPWD).