Interview

Housing for All aims to complete construction of houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) by 2022

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Amrit Abhijat, Joint Secretary

A city cannot be treated as smart, unless its citizens are provided with decent pucca housing at affordable cost. Presence of slums in a city is another area of concern to provide the city a clean image. PMAY (U) is dealing with such issues by providing pucca houses equipped with basic services to every eligible city dweller in both slum and non-slum areas, says Amrit Abhijat, Joint Secretary and Mission Director, Housing for All, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Government of India, in this interview with Elets News Network (ENN).

What is the role of Housing for All or Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (PMAY U) in order to have a comprehensive development of Cities?

“By the time the Nation completes 75 years of its independence in 2022, there should not be any family without owning a house for his living” is the vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister Sh. Narendra Modi. A city, free from kutcha, semi pucca and temporary dwelling units with provision of adequate housing, is integral part of holistic development of city, as it depicts the façade of the city. A city cannot be treated as smart, unless its citizens are provided with decent pucca housing at affordable cost. Presence of slums in a city is another area of concern to provide the city a clean image. PMAY (U) is dealing with such issues by providing pucca houses equipped with basic services to every eligible city dweller in both slum and non-slum areas. Sh. Hardeep S Puri, Hon’ble Minister of State (I/C), Housing and Urban Affairs, has been guiding and supporting us in our pursuit of integrated Urban Transformation. Comprehensive development of cities requires multifocal approach consisting of housing as well as basic infrastructures.

A number of flagship schemes have been launched by Government of India such as Smart Cities Mission, AMRUT, SBM, HRIDAY for integrated development of cities, recognising the contribution of cities in the GDP of the country. These schemes are mandated to provide basic infrastructures such as water supply, drainage, SWM, roads, public transport, electricity and application of technology in management of these infrastructures smartly. Under the leadership of Sh. Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, PMAY (U), while contributing towards betterment of the cities, is marching towards achieving the goal of “Housing for All” by 2022.

Give us an overview of the present status of the scheme, especially with respect to Haryana in general and Gurugram in specific.

PMAY (U) has witnessed remarkable achievement over last four years since its launch on June 25, 2015. A total of 85.17 lakh houses have been sanctioned by Government of India till now under all 4 verticals of the scheme, where 51 lakh have been grounded and 26.5 lakh houses are completed. As far as Haryana is concerned, a total of 2.64 lakh houses has been approved where share of AHP projects is highest with 1.8 lakh houses. A total of 38,346 houses are grounded and about 16,000 houses are already completed. A total of 23,715 houses have been approved for Gurugram and approximately 3,700 are completed.

What is the role of Public-Private Partnership in the scheme?

Availability of land is essential for the success of affordable housing sector in the country. In order to promote the affordable housing and unleash the potential of land available with the private sector, MoHUA has circulated eight PPP models. Under which, the private developer is allowed to construct houses on his own land and seek benefit of PMAY (U) under the banner of affordable housing and avail various exemptions and concessions. Presently, a total of 257 projects have been approved under PPP model with 4.39 lakh houses in various States.

What are the latest technology deployments in your department? How are these contributing towards the execution of the project?

A technology Sub-Mission under PMAY (U) has been set up to facilitate adoption of modern, innovative and green technologies and building materials for faster and quality construction of houses. Building Material and Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC), an autonomous body under MoHUA is responsible for certifying and promotion of new construction technologies in the country. As of now, 16 new construction technologies have been certified by the agency and SoR has been released by CPWD.

A Global Housing Technology Challenge- India (GHTC-India) was launched to identify and mainstream the best alternate construction technologies PMAY(U) House in Odisha from across the globe for a paradigm shift and an enabling eco-system in the construction sector. The year 2019-20 was declared as “Construction Technology Year” by the Hon’ble Prime Minister. Subsequently, six Light House Projects at six locations in the country will be executed for demonstrating and delivering ready to live houses in a shorter time, with lower cost and with better quality in a sustainable manner. These projects will act as a live laboratory for learning and replicating the best construction technology. These disruptive technologies will transform the housing construction practices by impacting the speed, scale and quality of houses. The Potential Future Technologies will be provided with Incubation and Acceleration support through Product Development, Networking Opportunities and Marketing Support following the principle of ‘Lab to Land’.

What are the challenges of the scheme?

1. Land: Availability of encumbrance free land for affordable housing projects in the cities is one of the major challenges under the scheme. There is scarcity of Government land within the city limits. MoHUA has developed eight PPP models to unleash the potential of land available with private sector. Further, coverage of the scheme has also been extended to include planning/ Development areas to make more land available for affordable housing.

2. Slum Redevelopment: In-Situ Slum Redevelopment (ISSR) component of the Mission envisages redevelopment of slums using land as a resource. Such strategy could not get momentum due to issues regarding land. A multi-layered strategy is being developed by the Ministry to deal with slum redevelopment issue as per the size of the town.

3. Unforeseen Challenges: Natural calamities such as earthquakes, floods and cyclones have devastating impact not only on communities by destruction of infrastructure, displacements and homelessness, but also affects the pace of the implementation of the mission.

As Ministry is committed to construct more than 1 crore houses under the Mission, what is the financing arrangement?

The current validated demand is 1.12 crore as per the demand assessment carried out by the States/UTs. Apart from the budgetary allocations, a National Urban Housing Fund (NUHF) has been created to mobilise Rs 60,000 crore as Extra-Budgetary Resources (EBR) to ensure smooth flow of resources to the projects where Rs 28,000 crore has already been drawn.

Is there any provision for recognising best performance of the State/UT in the Mission?

The role of States/UTs and other stakeholders needs appreciation and it’s all happening with their support and coordinated effort. The Mission has instituted PMAY (U) awards to recognise the best performance of the State/UTs and cities in implementation of the scheme in addition to the CLSS Award for recognising the contribution and performance of Banks/ PLIs. Six categories of award will be given which includes State, Municipal Corporation, Municipal Council, Nagar Panchayat, special awards and beneficiaries level awards. A separate mobile app has been developed where beneficiary can upload selfie and testimonial from his/her smart phone. The best houses constructed by the beneficiaries in each State will be awarded.

What is the way forward with respect to the HFA mission in the coming years?

The focus of HFA mission in coming years is to ensure completion and delivery of all the houses as per the validated demand in States/UTs by the year 2022. Any additional demand based on eligibility in forthcoming years will also be considered in the scheme. Secondly, there will be focused intervention in slums towards deslumming India. A detailed strategy is being worked out by the Mission to redevelop the slums in partnership with State governments, community and private developers.

With respect to promotion of construction technology, the Light House Projects will be executed and upscaling will be done. In order to mainstream these technologies, few courses on new technology are being launched in association of School of Planning and Architecture (SPA). The potential technologies will be given incubation and accelerator support through IITs to further develop these technologies and make them market ready.

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