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Affordable Housing Project: A Vision Progressing Towards Reality

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Affordable Housing Project: A Vision Progressing Towards Reality

The Prime Minister’s ambitious project of ‘Housing for All’ aims to provide roof to every citizen, irrespective of their socio-economic status, by 2022, which also happens to be the 75th year of independence. Sreetama Datta Roy and Harshal Desai of Elets News Network (ENN) bring an overview of the project by analysing its multiple facets.

Housing is one of the basic necessities of human life apart from food and clothing. It is one of the key mandates of the Central as well as State Governments and it aims to make housing affordable for every for each strata of the society. For any Government, the success factor of the Housing policy lies in providing a holistic and all inclusive accommodation. The Prime Minister’s ambitious project of ‘Housing for All’ aims to provide roof to every citizen, irrespective of their socio-economic status, by 2022, which also happens to be the 75th year of independence.

The vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard is, “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.” Within this project, the Government has launched the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) Urban as well as Rural for the citizens belonging to the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and Lower Income Group (LIG). According to Amrit Abhijat, Joint Secretary, and Mission Director, Housing for All, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Government of India, 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 four verticals of the scheme, where 51 lakh have been grounded and 26.5 lakh houses are completed.

FOCUS AREAS OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECT

The major focus areas or the components of the Affordable Housing Project are as follows: • In situ rehabilitation of Slum Dwellers using land as a resource through private partnership wherever possible; • Promotion of affordable housing for weaker section through credit linked subsidy (interest subvention); • Affordable housing in partnership with Public & Private sectors • Promotion of housing for urban poor by assisting beneficiary led construction.

HOW THE POLICIES ARE ENSURING THE VISION OF ALL INCLUSIVE AFFORDABLE HOUSING

There are multiple ways in which the authorities are ensuring the affordable housing facilities for each section of the society.

SLUM REHABILITATION AUTHORITY (SRA)

The Centre has granted Rs 1 lakh per household, on an average, under the slum rehabilitation programme. A State Government would have flexibility in deploying this slum rehabilitation grant to any slum rehabilitation project taken for development using land as a resource for providing houses to slum dwellers. Speaking about the scenario of the slum rehabilitation in the state of Maharashtra, Sanjay Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Housing, Government of Maharashtra says, “Considering the slum rehabilitation under PMAY (U), Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) has a major role to play in the success of PMAY (U). The state had decided to include SRA projects sanctioned post June 2015 to be included under PMAY (U). Therefore, more than 2.25 lakh houses from SRA projects are now part of PMAY (U).”

MAHAKAMGAR AWAS YOJANA

MahaKamgar Awaas Yojana is envisaged to meet housing needs of construction workers registered under Maharashtra Building & Other Construction Workers Welfare Board. The scheme will support construction of houses for the beneficiaries’ up to 30 sqm carpet area with basic civic infrastructure like water, sanitation, sewerage, road, electricity etc. The beneficiaries of MahaKamgar Awas Yojana shall get additional subsidy of Rs 2 lakh, which is over and above of existing PMAY (U) subsidy of Rs 2.5 lakh. So, a total of Rs 4.5 subsidy per EWS house shall be given to beneficiary of MahaKamgar Awas Yojana. The validation of these beneficiaries will be done by Maharashtra Building & Other Construction Workers Welfare Board.

KUSHTHPIDIT AWAS YOJANA

Affordable Housing Project: A Vision Progressing Towards RealityMukhyamantri Kushthpidit Awas Yojana, is launched for Leprosy affected People to meet their housing needs, who do not own pucca houses. This scheme is a part of Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (Urban), which aims at Housing for all. The beneficiary should have UIDD card as a proof of disability due to leprosy. Under this scheme, certified leprosy affected people shall receive additional subsidy of Rs 1.5 lakh which is over and above of Rs 2.5 lakh subsidy of State and Centre.

PRIVATE PUBLIC PARTNERSHIP MODELS AT AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECTS

According to MoHUA, while the potential for directing privately owned land towards affordable housing at a low cost is limited, appropriate Private Public Partnership (PPP) structures can be used to incentivise the private sector in that direction.

The Ministry states, “Strategies attempted include directing private land for affordable housing in exchange for permission for more intensive utilisation of land or in exchange for permission to build high-end housing. PPP strategies including government grants and subsidies can also be potentially deployed to unlock unutilised/underutilised parcels of both government as well as privately owned lands for affordable housing.” Sharing the number of the ongoing PPP projects, Abhijat says, “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.”

Giving the overview of the PPP and Joint Venture of Maharashtra, Sanjay Kumar shares, “PPP is one of the important schemes under PMAY (U) in Maharashtra; there are more than 2.5 lakh houses have been sanctioned under this scheme. Among which, the work has already started for few projects. Under Joint Venture Policy, land will be contributed by private partner and construction, designing, finance; allotment etc. shall be done by MHADA / MahaHousing.

“Within this project, the Government has launched the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) Urban as well as Rural for the citizens belonging to the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and Lower Income Group (LIG).”

CHALLENGE AREAS

The major areas of challenges in the Affordable Housing project, as stated by Abhijat include the following areas: 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.

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. Unforeseen Challenges- Natural calamities such as earthquakes, floods and cyclones have devastating impact not only on communities, but also affects the pace of the implementation of the mission. The absence of a clear title is also a serious deterrent for participation by financial institutions and real estate developers in new as well as redevelopment projects of real estate. In the absence of redevelopment and densification of available lands, land remains underutilised – further contributing to shortage of land and to high land prices.

ROLE OF RERA

Affordable Housing Project: A Vision Progressing Towards RealityThe Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 seeks to protect home-buyers as well as help boost investments in the real estate industry. The Act establishes Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) in each state for regulation of the real estate sector and also acts as an adjudicating body for speedy dispute resolution. RERAs ensure that utmost transparency is maintained in terms of the project status and avoid situations like home buyers getting duped by builders. The Real Estate Act makes it mandatory for all commercial and residential real estate projects where the land is over 500 square metres, or eight apartments, to register with the Real Estate Regulatory (RERA) for launching a project, in order to provide greater transparency in project-marketing and execution. Moreover, to register a project, it is mandatory to get the approval and validation from the Planning authorities, civic bodies etc. The Act also prohibits unaccounted money from being pumped into the sector and as of now 70 percent of the money has to be deposited in bank accounts through cheques has been made mandatory.

IT – THE GAME CHANGER IN REAL ESTATE

Information Technology or Information Communication Technology (ICT) has been a game changer in the RERA and the overall housing sector. Anthony de Sa, Chairman, RERA, Madhya Pradesh says, “The usage of IT helps us reduce the time and necessity for multiple appearances before the court. For example, after the first appearance after the complaint is received, we say that the reply to the complaint by the non-applicant to the applicant, the counter reply from the applicant to the non-applicant, all this should be done on email with copies to RERA. Then only for the final argument, they appear in front of us. We hear the argument and in one seating we dispose off the case.” He also adds, “We have leveraged IT to reduce the time taken to dispose of our cases and it has given us rich dividends. We have been able to dispose of 70 percent of 3,600 cases which have been filed with RERA within a short span of time.” Emphasising on the digital innovation in the sector, which is further contributing towards envisioning the Affordable Housing project, Gautam Chatterjee, Chairman, RERA, Maharashtra states, “With the help of digital innovation, data about every project is uploaded on RERA’s website. The access to any and every information related to the project and the builder empowers the buyers. It is an empowering mechanism for the citizens. Today, the citizens are empowered and they can make informed choices about his home. This access to information and the right to make informed choices is the game-changer in the housing sector.”

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