Normative frameworks for seismic retrofit of existing unreinforced masonry buildings across the world involve an initial phase of assessment procedures based on engineering principles and quantitative methods. This is followed by guidelines for the retrofit of such structures and methods for the safe implementation of the retrofit techniques. These guidelines are regulatory in nature but based on the conclusions derived from the evaluation process. In the Indian context, there exist comprehensive databases covering the typologies of unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings and strengthening guidelines. However, a normative framework with a quantitative basis for the assessment of existing URM buildings is absent. Since the strengthening guidelines are merely prescriptive in nature, the analytical basis for choosing a particular strengthening scheme becomes uncertain and is left to the discretion of the engineer. This paper identifies and addresses the gaps in the Indian standards, developing a quantitative basis for assessment of existing URM buildings. A possible seismic assessment framework has been proposed by addressing the critical concerns and challenges and elucidated through a demonstrative example. © 2021, The Institution of Engineers (India).