The Government has conceived a ‘Housing for all Knowledge Lab’ as a central repository of knowledge in various thematic areas like housing technologies, innovative design/typologies and housing finance, etc to share the knowledge amongst States and implementing agencies, says Amrit Abhijat, Joint Secretary, Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (PMAY), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and Mission Director, Housing For All (HFA), Government of India, in conversation with Harshal Desai and Arpit Gupta of Elets News Network (ENN).
How much progress has been made in PMAY–Urban project across the nation? How much work is expected to be completed by 2022 under the Mission?
Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban (PMAY(U)) was formulated to address the housing shortage in urban areas of the country with a larger goal of “Housing for All 2022”. The Ministry emphasises that under the PMAY, the occupancy is much higher compared to earlier housing schemes by the government. Till September 2019, the Ministry has sanctioned a total of 60.29 lakh houses under PMAY (U) against the demand of one crore houses in India. Now, we are not only making multistoreyed structures but also doing beneficiary led construction, which is a very important component. It is basically partnering with the family for building their dream house. The Ministry is very optimistic about achieving the vision ‘Housing for All’ by 2022.
What are your views on ‘Housing for All’ mission?
Housing is one of the basic necessities. Its provisioning should be to cater to all and not according to the available budget. Actually, we do not even have fixed target for achievements. It is a dynamic mission in that sense. Anyone who seeks to get a house and is eligible, will be able to get PMAY(U) benefits. It is a mission not a scheme. Mission ‘Housing for All’.
PMAY (Urban) is a national vision that we have to realise. Given the fact that there is migration and there is growth, the demand will always keep growing. The vision has to be realised in a manner that we fulfill the housing shortage. We are confident that we would be able to achieve the goal. The Ministry has conceived a ‘Global Housing Technology Challenge’, and we are inviting all the innovative technologies from across the world. We are not just inviting but asking them to demonstrate that technology in certain areas depending on the geoclimatic regions.
Which are the States performing better than others? What are the measures undertaken by your office to make progress across the country within the stipulated time frame?
States’ performance is a relative term. States of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh are performing better in affordable housing in partnership component. Similarly, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh are performing better in BLC component. It does not mean other States are not performing well, rather they are streamlining their efforts and march ahead with the vision.
The Ministry has conceived a ‘Housing for all Knowledge Lab’ as a central repository of knowledge in various thematic areas like housing technologies, innovative design/typologies and housing finance, etc to share the knowledge amongst States and implementing agencies.
“A National Urban Housing Fund for Rs 60,000 crores have been set up to improve availability of funds for the implementation of the mission.”
Area Coverage under PMAY (Urban) has been increased to also include notified planning/development area/industrial development authority/special area development authority/urban development authority or any such authority resulting not only in increased coverage of the mission in terms of people benefiting, but has also opened up access to land for affordable housing.
Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) with Aadhaar linkage has been mandated to ensure that the subsidies are reaching the beneficiary account.
We have been cautiously working not only on achieving the target but to create a positive impact on environment through simplifying the processes, making things accountable and transparent and vouching on social inclusion. A robust MIS and GIS based monitoring combined with coordination mechanism with implementing agency at State level is set to ensure the progress in stipulated time frame. Adhering to, till date 27 lakh beneficiary data have been seeded in MIS and 13 lakh houses have already been geo-tagged.
Various Region Development Agencies like CIDCO, PMRDA in Maharashtra are also taking PMAY projects. How this engagement might prove to be fruitful in States across the country?
Regional authorities like Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) and City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) with land have sensitised private players to participate and contribute to the Mission by creating affordable housing stock. State authorities having land banks are envisaged for more contribution to cater the demand in their respective states. Also considering the expertise in implementation of housing projects their participation in PMAY(U) is defiantly a step closer to the vision.
For state like Maharashtra, CLSS is an important component. Primary lending institutions are providing housing loans to the beneficiaries that are eligible for interest subsidy. So far, close to 2.1 lakh beneficiaries have received benefits under CLSS of which Maharashtra’s share is more than 58,000 beneficiaries.
Which are the private players or corporates that are coming forward and helping the Government of India in successfully implementing the PMAY – U and R projects? How PPP model is playing a vital role here?
To achieve the target of PMAY Mission, a policy has been formulated over which State Governments have been encouraged to frame project proposals with private partners following PPP model for affordable housing. Ministry has also formulated eight models of partnership depending upon role and responsibility, stake and feasibility and ease of operation depending upon the ownership of land.
Private players own a substantial part of land in cities though in small pieces. There are prevailing norms for providing of EWS houses in housing development project. Developers should come ahead for construction of EWS and LIG housing as per PMAY(U) guidelines. As of now, private players have been associated in implementation of more than 200 projects under the PPP model.
Please tell us about the challenges faced by State government while implementing the PMAY project.
Challenges are part of any mission. States are facing few challenges such as availability of land in urban areas including issues related to availability of valid land title, validation to ensure that benefit reaches actual beneficiaries, failure of beneficiary to contribute their share, socio-economic challenge in rehabilitation and relocation and internet connectivity in remote locations for proper functioning on MIS and GIS, etc.
Credit fund to beneficiaries by banks and housing finance institutes in low income sector is another challenge. Though few housing finance companies and banks have performed well, it is anticipated from other HFCs and banks to provide support.