Interview

Maharashtra making dream of affordable housing come true

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Sanjay KumarSlums are sprawling in the cities like Mumbai where more than 55 per cent of the population reside in slums. However Government is determined to provide pucca houses to these slum dwellers under SRA and other affordable housing schemes like PMAY (U), says Sanjay Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary, Housing, Government of Maharashtra, in conversation with Harshal Desai of Elets News Network (ENN).

Please elaborate on the significant initiatives undertaken by the Government of Maharashtra in the State to strengthen the dream of affordable housing.

Maharashtra has always been in forefront in urban and housing sector. It is one of the top performing state in the country in Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme for Economic Weaker Section and LIG category and has been awarded by Government of India for the same. Maharashtra has also initiated the World Largest Affordable Housing Project comprising of 30,000 houses on Public Private Partnership basis in Rayanagar, District Solapur. This project shall implement green technologies like rainwater harvesting, Use of recycle water from sewerage treatment plant for flushing and gardening, zero use of natural sand, solar streetlight etc. Another successful case study in Maharashtra is the Nagpur patta model which is first-of-its-kind slum redevelopment through giving land tenure (malkipatta) rights to slum dwellers. Under this initiative, land up to the first 500 sq ft is been given free and the land tenure rights are been given jointly to husband and wife in the slums of Nagpur.

Maharashtra has also undertaken several other initiatives to boost affordable housing including:

       Government lands to be available @Rs. 1/-per sq.mt. to Government & Semi Government bodies for projects under PMAY-HFA(U) vide GR dated 19.09.2016

  • Government of Maharashtra is offering Rs 1 lakh subsidy to each beneficiary, under ISSR, AHP and BLC components of PMAY (U).
  • Fees for joint measurement of land under PMAY projects will be charged at 50 per cent of prevailing rate vide order dated 03.08.2016 of Director, Land Records Pune.
  • Stamp duty at Rs 1,000 only per EWS house will be charged for 1st instrument executed for the purpose of allotment of residential premises admeasuring up to an area of 30 sq.mt. to the person belonging EWS category as per PMAY-HFA (U) vide order dated 01.12.2016 of ACS, R&F Dept.
  • The Government of Maharashtra has provided 2.5 FSI for all affordable housing projects developed by Maharashtra Housing And Development Authority (MHADA). It is now proposed to provide 2.5 FSI to all affordable housing projects under PMAY being developed by public authority or private authority in partnership.
  • The Government of Maharashtra has designed a Public Private Partnership Policy (PPP) for private land owners to come forward and develop affordable housing in joint venture with MHADA. The policy is under approval process.
  • The Government of Maharashtra has proposed to form a “Maharashtra Affordable Housing Development Corporation” (MahaHousing). The key objective of the corporation shall be, to develop mega projects (townships with minimum 5,000 houses) of affordable housing with a total target of five lakh houses under PMAY (U) in Maharashtra by 2022.
  • The Government of Maharashtra is in the process of developing online training module about Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) for all ULBs and Citizens.

What are the major challenges the State faces while implementing initiatives pertaining to affordable housing?

Few major challenges faced in Maharashtra pertaining affordable housing are:

Availability of land is typically the biggest constrain for affordable housing and also one of the major driver of cost. For example, in South Mumbai, the cost of land accounts to 60-80 per cent of the entire project cost. In order to address this issue, the Government of Maharashtra is taking several initiatives including issuance of GR dated 19.09.2016 ensuring that, Government lands will be available @Rs. 1/-per sq.mt. to Government and  Semi Government bodies for projects under PMAY-HFA(U).

Apart from this, 2.5 FSI is provided for all Affordable Housing Projects Developed by Maharashtra Housing And Development Authority (MHADA). It is now proposed to provide 2.5 FSI to all Affordable Housing Projects being developed under PMAY.

Also there is limitation of Government land, in order to provide houses to every family, private sector has to chip in and develop affordable housing. The Government of Maharashtra has designed a Public Private Partnership Policy (PPP) for private land owners to develop affordable housing in joint venture with MHADA. The policy is under approval process.

Another key issue is low private sector participation in affordable housing. Traditionally, majority of the private players developed luxury houses for HIG segment and Government bodies developed affordable housing. However the trend is changing now. With several government incentives, schemes and regulations, private players are keen to participate in the affordable housing segment.

Slums: Slums are sprawling in the cities like Mumbai where more than 55 per cent of the population reside in slums. Rehabilitation of these slums is a challenge as it involves consensus of various stakeholders. However, Government is determined to provide pucca houses to these slum dwellers under SRA and other affordable housing schemes like PMAY (U).

According to recent media reports, the Maharashtra Government is planning to form Affordable Housing Corporation? Will you please elaborate on this further?

The Government of Maharashtra has proposed to form a “Maharashtra Affordable Housing Development Corporation”. The key objective of the corporation shall be to develop mega projects (tTownships with about 5,000 houses) of affordable housing under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) in Maharashtra. Each mega project constructed by MahaHousing shall have 30 per cent EWS, 30 per cent LIG and 40 per cent MIG Houses with a total target of construction of minimum 5 Lakh affordable houses by 2022.

Maharashtra Affordable Housing Development Corporation – MahaHousing is proposed to be a company incorporated with shareholding of organisations including Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA), Shivshahi Punarvasan Prakalp Ltd (SPPL), Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT), City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd. (CIDCO) etc.

MahaHousing would initially jointly funded by its equity shareholders with an initial corpus of Rs 2000 – 2500 crore. MahaHousing shall be provided 2.5 FSI for developing the mega affordable housing projects and would be permitted to develop these mega projects on green zones / NDZ areas.

Slum Rehabilitation is one of the major issues. How the Government is addressing it?

Slum rehabilitation is always a challenge for the State Government. Therefore, it has formed Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) to uplift the standard of people living in shanty structures and in unhygienic environment.

Every slum dweller whose name appears in the electoral rolls as on 01/01/1995 and who continues to stay in the slum, is eligible for rehabilitation under SRA. Such eligible slum dweller shall be provided with an alternative tenement ad measuring 269.00 sq. ft. preferably at the same site, irrespective of the area of slum structure.

Whereas slum dwellers which are not eligible for rehabilitation under SRA rules and regulations, the Government of Maharashtra is identifying such people and checking if they can be made eligible under PMAY and thereby subsidy can be distributed to them for construction of house. This is how the Government of Maharashtra is trying every possible alternative to provide houses to slum dwellers.

There are several other projects that are proposed and in progress which includes: rehabilitation of slums of Central Governments land on salt pan lands,  B D D chawl redevelopment, rehabilitation of trespassers in transit camps, houses for mill workers etc.

The State is also willing to use advanced construction technologies. How this is going to impact overall implementation activities?

There are several projects under construction which are already using innovative construction technologies. These projects are developed under PMAY (U), to name a few, at Mhalunge Pune (648 EWS tenements) and Shrirampur (216 EWS and 100 LIG)

These projects are using innovative technologies like Precast Method, Rainwater Harvesting, Earthquake Proof Construction, Solar Energy etc.

These innovative technologies are safer and secured against any natural disasters like earthquake, flood etc.

Along with this, the Government of Maharashtra is also formulating policy for Green Buildings. These buildings will be the most efficient buildings in terms of water and energy conservation, recycling the waste, using more natural resources etc.

 Maharashtra had appointed housing regulator last year. How significant this move has been so far? Please elaborate the significance of this move?

Maharashtra is pioneer in Implementation of RERA in India. Maharashtra was among the first states to notify rules, regulations and establish Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority also known as MahaRERA. MahaRERA is also the first authority to have fully paperless, online and completely transparent office from day one i.e. 1st May 2017

All services towards stakeholders are online including:

    • Online registration of real estate projects
    • Online registration of real estate agents
    • Online disclosure of information
    • Online complaints filing
    • Online judgements
    • Online project extensions

Thereby ensuring zero footfalls-zero paper

Till date, more than 9,752 real estate agent registration certificates have been issued and more than 13,436 project registration certificates have been issued. MahaRERA has also started adjudication proceedings with more than 34 final rulings / judgements issued.

RERA is transforming the real estate sector bringing greater transparency, trust, accountability and citizen centricity in Real Estate Sector.

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