Monthly Archives: May 2012

Rajiv Awas Yojana: builders not too keen on rental housing

The Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) announced in the 2009 budget is one of the United Progressive Alliance government’s initiatives aimed at improving living conditions for the urban poor through the construction of housing for the so-called economically weaker sections (EWS), a measure aimed at reining in the relentless spread of slums across India’s urban landscape.

A critical part of the programme, amounting to one-fourth of such projects, is developing rental accommodation. But private builders aren’t too keen on the idea, since the returns on selling a property are much higher than on renting it.

In a typical EWS category housing project, the government allows a part of it to be developed as commercial space along with the rental housing. The project’s success depends on who will manage it and set the eligibility criteria for those seeking to rent homes, she added.

Developers blame poor incentives and low returns for the lack of enthusiasm.

“Such projects are taken up under the purview of state development authorities, which are not comfortable sharing more incentives,” said Manoj Goyal, senior vice-president, Raheja Developers Ltd, a New Delhi-based real estate firm. “Moreover, authorities should not invite bids for such projects, as the tendering process increases the cost of the project while there is poor return on the final product.”



Vijayawada – Housing for the poor- on farmer’s land- Innovation?!

Shared by: Prakash Kumar Pathak, PRIA

Source: Nav Bharat Times/ The Economic Times


 Vijayawada urban agglomeration is characterized by a very significant presence of the urban poor, with a growing poverty profile. The commercial capital of Andhra Pradesh has a population of 11.8 lakh with a large percentage (over 25%) living in over 111 slums. It is estimated that many slums are located on private lands without access to basic services. The poor, not only habitate the slums of the city but are spread in squatters and informal settlements in small groups on the hillocks,  river  beds,  etc.,  deprived  of  basic  services.

 Another feature is that the Vijayawada urban agglomeration consists of out growths which are presently not part of the corporation area but inextricably linked with the city both spatially and economically. In all these areas the poor population is very high and all these areas can be considered to be slums without basic infrastructure – physical and social.  

 The slum population as per 2001 census is over 30,851 and has  gone  up substantially over the last few years and as per the 2005 survey it stands at 42,554, an increase of about 38 per cent which is very high. 

 Under JnNURM scheme, Vijayawada Municipal Corporation undertook EWS housing on the periphery of the city at Jakkampudi village. entire land at Jakkampudi was acquired from farmers on 40:60 development basis in which the land owners were provided with best infrastructure including roads, water, electricity and drainage facilities. In this arrangement,VMC got 40% of the farmers land share (on which it builds houses for urban poor) and the farmers retain 60% but benefit from infrastructure development that the government undertakes.

The project is being executed in two phases. Phase I covers an area of 226 acres with 8,000 houses that have been built already. Phase II will cover 787 acres. All together, the project is expected to build 25,000 houses. With the completion of the first phase, the area has now been connected to the main city with 40-ft wide all-weather BT roads. VMC has built a flyover over a railway crossing that alone has reduced the distance by 4 km. It has also built an inner ring road, integrating the area to the main city. The colony is now just 5-8 km away from the central business district. The state governments bus service has begun and the work on bus shelters,street lights,water supply etc is being smoothened.
Within the colony the government has built a school,a hospital,a community hall,a park and one fair price shop. Going forward,32 flats,or a block, has been organized into a owners RWA association where they will take charge of maintenance of the building and other common issues even as the government will take care of the infrastructure issues.

 Already, 3,000 families have moved. The work on the second phase will begin by the middle of this year.

 Deepti Gaur Mukherjee, Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) director had visited 8,000 housing units for the poor in Jakkampudi villageand Gollapudi village where another housing project has been proposed for 25,000 families under the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) to shift the slum dwellers. Each housing unit will cost `3 lakh and `one lakh will be spent for infrastructure development.

 Municipal commissioner, G. Ravi Babu, said 25,000 houses will be built in Gollapudi for which the farmers had already given consent to hand over 300 acres of land. Farmers are ready to hand over another 470 acres. He said a detailed project report on Gollapudi housing project was to be sent to the central government by May for approval. He said `130 crore is required to develop the land in Gollapudi and 50 acres will be given to the Uda as part of the agreement. Babu said efforts are on to shift the slum dwellers to safer places after the completion of the projects in the coming years.

Slowing economy hits India’s poorest

Source: Financial Times

Sher Singh has not found work in weeks. The 33-year-old day-labourer – who lives in one of India’s largest industrial districts outside Delhi – says things were different a year ago.

“Every day I would get up to three different jobs,” he says, leaning against a rickety wall along Harola Labour Chowk road, where hundreds of labourers gather each morning to look for work. “I used to make Rs6,000 ($108) a month.”

But since India’s economic growth rate started cooling from the 8 per cent highs of 2010 to 6 per cent in late 2011, Mr Singh’s wage, like that of millions of other day labourers, has dropped sharply.

“The benefits of growth are very unequally shared, and the poor are gaining much less from it than they would otherwise. This applies at 8 per cent as well as at 6 per cent,” says Jean Dreze, a development economist. “Having said this, the decline from 8 per cent to 6 per cent could certainly make things more difficult for them.”

“Little was done before to share the benefits of high growth, now we can expect even less,” says AK Shivakumar, a member of India’s National Advisory Council.

The nightmare scenario presented by slowing growth and rising inflation will be a tough one for India’s policy makers to untangle.

Keeping interest rates high to battle inflation could mean choking off investment.

It could mean that companies cannot afford to borrow cash, while India’s middle class refrains from buying cars or houses as they wait for rates to fall.

However, back on Harola Labour Chowk, day labourers say they cannot wait for two years for the economy to recover. “If this goes on [like this] I think its best for my family to eat poison,” says Mr Singh. “There is no other choice.”

Read the entire story at

Six districts of J-K to be brought under Rajiv Awas Yojna

Six districts of Jammu and Kashmir, including the twin capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu, will be brought under the centrally-sponsored Rajiv Awas Yojna (RAY) scheme aimed at rehabilitating slum dwellers. “The Centre has sanctioned the implementation of the Scheme (RAY) in six districts — Jammu, Kathua and Udhampur in Jammu province and Srinagar, Baramulla and Anantnag in Kashmir — in the first phase to make these cities slum-free,” Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand said while addressing officers of the State Housing Board here.

He asked the Board to avail the services of available manpower and ensure early completion of the survey of the identified districts so that a detailed project is forwarded to the Centre for allocation of funds. 90 per cent of the expenditure would be borne by the Centre while the State would provide 10 per cent share for the scheme, he said


Bangalore-Government sites out of reach for EWS

 The state government has allotted less than seven per cent of the sites to be issued under housing schemes formulated to help the economically weaker sections. According to the data obtained by Express, in 2011-12 report, the state had planned to distribute 2 lakh sites (1.5 lakh in rural and 0.5 lakh in urban). During 2011-12, the state government had issued 12,402 housing sites, which is six per cent of the target. However, unlike the original plan of distributing 2 lakh sites every year, a total of 2.25 lakh sites have been allotted in the last 18 years.

Under Basava Vasathi Yojane, Indira Awaas Yojana and Ambedkar Awas Yojana, the dwelling sites are distributed free of cost to poor families, which do not own sites both in urban and rural areas. However, the annual income of the beneficiary need to be less than `32,000. A land measuring 600 sq ft in urban area and 1,200 sq ft in rural area need to be given to the beneficiaries.


New Panel to review poverty estimates!

The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is revisiting both the methodology used to calculate the number of poor and the estimates of poverty with the intention of eventually linking them to its entitlement programmes, after coming under fire for the way it measured indigence.

The panel will suggest a methodology to update the consumption-based poverty line using the new consumer price indices launched by the Central Statistical Office (CSO), review alternative methods of estimating poverty and recommend how it should be linked to eligibility for drawing benefits from the government’s public welfare programmes, minister of state for planning Ashwani Kumar said.

Barely two years after an expert group headed by the late Suresh Tendulkar submitted its report on a new methodology for estimating poverty, the government admitted in March that it wasn’t in line with the ground reality and said it would evolve a new approach.

A poverty estimate released by the Planning Commission in March showed India almost doubled the pace at which it reduced poverty in the five years to 2009-10, moving 52 million people above the poverty line. However, the Planning Commission’s new poverty estimates, which drew the poverty line for rural India at Rs22.40 per day and Rs28.60 for urban India, invited sharp criticism from the opposition.


State/ City Consultations on Strengthening Civil Society Voices on Urban Poverty – Rajasthan/ Kerala

PRIA and SPARC along with a number of partner civil society and community based organization are working towards strengthening civil society voices and actions on ever increasing issues in urban poverty in different states of the country.

One of the major inadequacies in taking forward the agenda of inclusion and active participation of the urban poor in various government run programmes is weak civil society engagement with issues of urban poverty and urban governance. There are just a handful of civil society organizations in the country, which have focused on organizing and mobilizing the urban poor to claim their rights and thereby to secure active participation and ownership of urban development programmes. There is no national network of civil society, or even a sub- sectorial coalition, that focuses on these issues on a sustained basis.  A strong civil society engagement would be crucial at city level and also at the state government level; however, engagement at the national level can then be valuable to ensure supportive policies and guidelines from the central government and other agencies like the Planning Commission.

With the aim to strengthen this civil society participation, we are organising State and City Level Consultation in Kerala (Trivandrum and Kollam) and Rajasthan (Jaipur)

In Kerala, city and state level multi stakeholder consultations, is to be held respectively on 26th May and 28th May in Kollam and Trivandrum, and is aimed at sharing (cum action planning on the basis) of collective experiences.. The objective of this consultation is to evolve a collective understanding through dialogues on methods and approaches to address the issues of urban poverty in the state. This consultation would also strive to sensitize and educate different sections of society about the need to strategically and collectively focus on issues of urban poor. We are expecting participants from community, civil society, academia, media and government to participate in this consultation.

In Jaipur, we are organizing a state level workshop on 2nd June, 2012, at Institute for Development Studies (IDS), Jhalana Institutional Area, Jaipur, to ensure supportive strategies and tactics for enhancing community participation and ascertaining people participation by empowering the stakeholders by the knowledge about various government run programmes and schemes.

For more details on the consultations please be free to contact TerraUrban!