Affordable Housing for all?

by Swathi Subramaniam, PRIA

Recently, two day national conclave on “Urban Governance and Housing for All – Opportunities and challenges” was presided over by Shri. M. Venkiah Naidu and concluded by suggesting a 25-point charter for urban planning and management.

 It was estimated that 3 crore houses will be short by the year 2022. GoI aspires to have Housing for All by 2022 with special emphasis on Economically Weaker Society, Lower Income Group et al. The housing and construction contributes to 9% of GDP and supports 250 ancillary industries. A comprehensive housing policy will be formed, implementation of single window scheme for approval of layouts for builders, to improve livelihoods of the urban poor, ensure peoples participation in governance, amendment of rental laws etc. 

Earlier government had also initiated housing for the poor. Rajiv Awas Yojana(RAY) and Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewable Mission (JnNURM) are two big schemes which were rolled out, however the success of the same is still debatable. 

RAY envisages making the country slum free by building the houses for urban slum dwellers. Construction of units under RAY is funded by centre, state and the beneficiary. As per present status of RAY the government has approved construction of 1,20,912 Dwelling Unit all over India at the cost of 6472.06 crore. Cost per unit works out to about Rs 5.3 lakhs. Out of this work on 1,03,643 units are yet to start. Only 1% of the RAY dwelling units have been constructed till now.

In JNNURM, the Integrated Housing and Slum Development Program sub scheme envisages development of affordable houses for poor by allocating 20-25% of all housing project for EWS/LIG. Till now 37% dwelling units have been set up under IHSDP.  While we see some progress in IHSDP, RAY has failed to take off due to various reasons. 

Mobilization of funds posses a huge challenge for building these homes. Due to rising land prices and difficulty in getting bank credit, urban poor are often not able to ‘afford’ decent homes. Often as seen on ground, ensuring that the actual beneficiary lives in his ‘allocated’ house is another challenge most resettlement/redevelopment schemes have to face. Even when the homes are developed and given to the slum dwellers they rent their units and move to another nearby slums. RAY houses being in faraway locations from their existing slums have also made the scheme unattractive to slum dwellers, since it adversely impacts their livelihood.The implementing agencies in many locations have not shown the desired level of priority. Due to combination of all the above factors and we can see that the schemes have failed.

“Affordable Housing for All” attempts to look at all these aspects differently. The housing for all focuses on not just the urban poor but also for the lower middle class and middle class. There is a comprehensive approach by the government in identifying and addressing all the bottlenecks.The incentivisation to private builders for making such homes, using the corporate social responsibility gateway, open doors for private partnership, access to funds for real estate developers and house consumers and FDI in housing are some of the steps the government is working on. Real estate investments trust (REIT) is an important step not only for creating a new investment avenue for investors but also providing much needed liquidity to real estate developers.

While the government is committed, the challenges are too many. Will this increase the complexities of land? How will the scheme create affordable housing in cities with lack of space and skyrocketing land prices? Will it be able to complete on time or remain on-going scheme?

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The 25 point charter as concluded at the conclave reads the following:

The Ministries of Urban Development and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India, in partnership with the Governments of State and Union Territories of the Republic of India, held a Conclave of Ministers of Housing & Urban Development of States and Union Territories and Workshop of State/UT Secretaries on “Urban Governance and ‘Housing For All’: Opportunities and Challenges” on 2nd and 3rd July, 2014.

Participated by over 250 delegates including Union, State and Union Territory Ministers for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, along with the respective State Principal Secretaries/ Secretaries for Housing & Urban Development, policy-specialists and experts comprising the delegates from Government of India, experts from State Level Nodal Agencies, Housing and Urban Development Corporation, Housing Boards/Corporations, Slum Development Board/Authority, etc.

concluding therefrom that –

WHEREAS decent housing is recognized as a part of the dignity and indicator of quality of life of the individual and with the burgeoning population of cities and towns in India the gap between the supply and demand of the housing has been widening.

AND WHEREAS the total housing shortage was estimated to be 18.78 million as at the beginning of the 2012, and the projected shortage is estimated at 30 million by 2022, if not acted upon decisively.

AND WHEREAS housing and construction industry supports more than 250 ancillary industries and contributes nearly 9% to the GDP.

AND WHEREAS the Government of India aspires to provide “Housing For All” by 2022 (the Goal), the year in which the Republic of India will celebrate its 75th year of Independence.

AND WHEREAS the achievement of this goal requires cooperation among the Central Government, State Governments, Urban Local Bodies, Parastatal agencies, Financial institutions, the Private sector, Civil Society/ NGOs etc.

AND WHEREAS special emphasis has to be laid on EWS and LIG and other vulnerable sections of society such as Slum dwellers, Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes, Backward Classes, Senior citizens, Persons with disabilities, Widows etc.

AND WHEREAS the Government of India recognizes need for sustainable livelihoods opportunities for urban poor to eliminate poverty in the country.

AND UPON having met at the National Conclave of Ministers of Housing & Urban Development of States and Administrators of Union Territories and Workshop of Administrative Secretaries on “Urban Governance and Housing For All: Opportunities and Challenges” on the 2nd and 3rd day of July, 2014

AND UPON deliberated at length on the means to achieve the said goal, now, therefore, the Ministries of Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India and the Departments of Housing and Urban Development of all State Governments & Union Territories of India,

affirming their commitment and hereby resolve

THAT Government of India and States shall join together to provide guidance alongside fiscal and non-fiscal support to achieve the goal of “Housing For All” by 2022.

THAT Government of India, will rationalize approval processes and fund flows to States and Union Territories for Government of India Schemes and Projects.

THAT Government of India, State Governments and Union Territories will empower the third tier of governments (ULBs) as envisaged in the Seventy-Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of India.

THAT the States and Union Territories, will make all efforts to encourage and involve all stakeholders for Affordable Housing to achieve goal of “Housing For All” by 2022.

THAT the States and Union Territories, will make efforts to encourage Affordable Housing and will prepare a Comprehensive Housing Policy, if not already notified.

THAT the States and Union Territories, will complete ongoing works of Affordable Housing along with allied infrastructure under various schemes of Government of India and State Governments expeditiously and allot those houses to beneficiaries.

THAT the States and Union Territories, will make efforts to encourage EWS/LIG housing by examining the possibility of liberal FAR/FSI, Density, Ground Coverage along with TDR and examining the concept of deemed building permissions for pre-approved standard lay out plans and building type plans.

THAT the States and Union Territories, will take up the amendment of Rental Laws to balance the interests of owner and tenant with an objective to encourage Rental Housing in urban areas.

THAT the States and Union Territories, will endeavour to implement single window scheme for approval of lay-out and building permission in all ULBs.

THAT the States and Union Territories, will endeavour to expeditiously prepare statutory spatial/Master Plans for cities and towns and regions, with reservation of zones for Affordable Housing

THAT the States and Union Territories, will make all efforts to improve livelihoods of the urban poor with special focus on their skill development to eliminate urban poverty.

THAT the concerned will ensure peoples’ participation in governance, maintenance of public amenities, transparency in the system, and accountability for proper growth of cities.

THAT the concerned pledge to provide basic amenities like better roads, transport, sanitation, drinking water, and ensure poverty elimination through skill development.

THAT all concerned resolve to actively consider implementing the 25-point Reforms Agenda, through policy measures and legislation, if required, enumerated by the Union Urban Development and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister, Shri. M. Venkaiah Naidu, in his inaugural speech.

THAT all concerned unanimously agree to work together to achieve the target of “ Housing For All” by the year 2022

(M. Venkaiah Naidu)

Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India, For and on behalf of the Delegates of the Conclave of Ministers of Housing & Urban Development of States and Union Territories Workshop of State/UT Secretaries on “Urban Governance and ‘Housing For All’: Opportunities and Challenges” on the 3rd day of July, 2014

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One thought on “Affordable Housing for all?

  1. Rashid Faridi August 12, 2014 at 8:27 am Reply

    Reblogged this on Rashid's Blog.

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