A re­al­is­able dream

A roof over ev­ery head is a wor­thy aim, not only for wel­fare but also for the econ­omy

Governance Now - - URBAN PLANNING - Dr Sasikala Pushpa and Dr B Ra­maswamy

The in­dian con­sti­tu­tion states that “the state shall strive to pro­mote the wel­fare of the peo­ple, pro­tect­ing as ef­fec­tively as it may a so­cial or­der in which jus­tice, so­cial, eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal for all.” it is on th­ese ba­sic val­ues that in­dia con­tin­ues to en­deav­our to pro­vide its peo­ple ba­sic so­cio-eco­nomic re­quire­ments such as food, em­ploy­ment and shel­ter.

in gen­eral, shel­ter and hous­ing is a state sub­ject. How­ever, the sub­ject of hous­ing is not specif­i­cally men­tioned in the con­sti­tu­tion. Hous­ing is an im­por­tant sec­tor of the econ­omy and its pro­vi­sions are largely de­ter­mined by state pol­icy and in­ter­ven­tions. With the dawn of new eco­nomic pol­icy in the early 1990s in­dia has wit­nessed a pol­icy shift in al­most all sec­tors of the econ­omy in­clud­ing the hous­ing. even in the era of mar­ket-led econ­omy the state has played the role of the provider of af­ford­able hous­ing for the poor and eco­nom­i­cally weaker sec­tions of the so­ci­eties within the am­bits of avail­able re­sources.

The gov­ern­ment of in­dia has set up an am­bi­tious tar­get of pro­vid­ing ‘Hous­ing for all by 2022’. This scheme has sev­eral pro­vi­sions for dif­fer­ent land­scapes of the coun­try. Af­ford­able hous­ing for the ur­ban sec­tor was ap­proved by the union cab­i­net in June 2015 and is cov­ered un­der the min­istry of hous­ing and ur­ban poverty al­le­vi­a­tion. The at­tempt has met with ini­tial suc­cess. it has ap­proved in­vest­ments of ₹1,10,753 crore in the af­ford­able ur­ban hous­ing sec­tor in the last two years. The bud­get 2017 has in­creased the al­lo­ca­tion for both PMAY grameen (ru­ral) and ur­ban. al­lo­ca­tion for Prad­han Mantri awaas Yo­jana (grameen), a hous­ing scheme for the ru­ral poor, has been raised by 44 per­cent to ₹23,000 crore for 2017-18. it will go to­wards build­ing 10 mil­lion houses for ru­ral pop­u­la­tion. The to­tal al­lo­ca­tion for PMAY (ur­ban) has in­creased from ₹5,075 crore in 2016-17 to ₹6,043 crore in 2017-18.

in­dia is un­der­go­ing rapid ur­ban­i­sa­tion at present. This re­quires ex­pan­sion of ur­ban ameni­ties. A ma­jor deficit is hous­ing among ur­ban pop­u­la­tion. The Na­tional ur­ban Hous­ing and Habi­tat Pol­icy (NUHHP), 2007 has set the ob­jec­tive of ‘Af­ford­able Hous­ing for All’ as a key fo­cus. as per cen­sus 2011, 377 mil­lion indians, com­pris­ing 31 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion, live in ur­ban ar­eas. Fur­ther, the num­ber of towns in in­dia has in­creased from 5,161 in 2001 to 7,933 in 2011. The ur­ban pop­u­la­tion is ex­pected to reach nearly 600 mil­lion by 2031 as per var­i­ous es­ti­mates.

Based on the es­ti­mates of the amitabh Kundu com­mit­tee, 2012, in­dia faces an ur­ban hous­ing short­age of ap­prox­i­mately 20 mil­lion units, of which hous­ing for ews and lower in­come groups (lig) – fam­i­lies with a monthly in­come of up to ₹16,000 – ac­counts for over 90 per­cent of the gap. This hous­ing short­age has led to a pro­lif­er­a­tion of slums and squat­ter set­tle­ments. so, the em­pha­sis of the gov­ern­ment is on af­ford­able hous­ing for the ur­ban poor. ac­cord­ingly, the gov­ern­ment has merged sev­eral schemes of the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ments and in­tro­duced a com­pre­hen­sive pol­icy frame­work to mit­i­gate the dan­gers which home­less dwellers face.

un­der PMAY, two crore houses for the ur­ban poor will be con­structed by 2022 at the rate of 30 lakh houses per year. The ob­jec­tive of the scheme is to con­struct af­ford­able pucca houses

The PMAY is a quintessen­tially so­cial in­clu­sion scheme which has in­cor­po­rated var­i­ous pro­vi­sions to help marginalised peo­ple. Not only it has in-built mea­sures for the EWS and LIGS but it also con­tains sev­eral pol­icy ini­tia­tives which ben­e­fits women.

with water sup­ply, 24x7 elec­tric­ity sup­ply and toi­let fa­cil­ity. In the first year, the im­ple­men­ta­tion and pace of growth of this scheme was rel­a­tively slug­gish in re­la­tion to the pro­jected tar­get. How­ever, the em­pha­sis given by the gov­ern­ment on the PMAY has shown pos­i­tive trends to­wards at­tain­ing the stated goals. The an­nual bud­gets of 2016 and 2017 ini­ti­ated sev­eral im­mi­nent mea­sures to pro­mote af­ford­able hous­ing. The bud­get of 2017 has given in­fra­struc­ture sta­tus for af­ford­able hous­ing. This has al­lowed ad­di­tional pri­vate play­ers to par­tic­i­pate by mak­ing big in­vest­ments. By tak­ing this step the gov­ern­ment has not only en­sured the en­hanced par­tic­i­pa­tion of the hith­erto dis­en­chanted pri­vate sec­tor but has also achieved im­proved in­vest­ment from the fi­nan­cial houses for its flag­ship pro­gramme.

The PM awas Yo­jana (ur­ban) will be car­ried out in three im­ple­men­ta­tion phases. Phase 1 has been com­pleted and a to­tal of 100 cities saw the de­vel­op­men­tal work be­ing un­der­taken. Phase 2, from april 2017 to March 2019, will cover and de­velop a to­tal of 200 more cities. Phase 3 will cover the rest of the cities. The gov­ern­ment would grant a sub­sidy to peo­ple from dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories, so that they could buy a home for them­selves and their fam­i­lies. The sub­sidy amount may range from ₹1 lakh to ₹2.30 lakh. Fur­ther, it will also pro­vide an in­ter­est sub­sidy of 6.5 per­cent on hous­ing loans availed by the ben­e­fi­cia­ries for a pe­riod of 15 years from the start of loan. cu­mu­la­tively, all th­ese steps will en­shrine a par­a­digm shift in the af­ford­able hous­ing sec­tor and, hope­fully, it will usher revo­lu­tion­ary changes in the lives of marginalised seg­ments of our so­ci­ety.

The PMAY is quintessen­tially so­cial in­clu­sion scheme which has in­cor­po­rated var­i­ous pro­vi­sions to help marginalised peo­ple. Not only it has in-built mea­sures for the ews and ligs but it also con­tains sev­eral pol­icy ini­tia­tives which ben­e­fits women. It could well be termed as a pro-women scheme. un­der this scheme the houses will be al­lot­ted prefer­ably to the fe­male mem­ber of the fam­ily which in it­self is a wel­come step. also, while al­lot­ting ground floors in any hous­ing scheme un­der the PMAY, pref­er­ence will be given to dif­fer­ently-abled peo­ple and se­nior ci­ti­zens. The houses built un­der this scheme will have eco-friendly and en­ergy sav­ing ar­chi­tec­ture that will fur­ther help in re­duc­ing the bur­den on the dwellers in par­tic­u­lar and to the en­vi­ron­ment in gen­eral. ad­di­tion­ally, the min­istry has set up a tech­nol­ogy sub­mis­sion that will en­cour­age adop­tion of mod­ern, in­no­va­tive and green tech­nolo­gies and build­ing ma­te­rial for quicker and bet­ter qual­ity con­struc­tion of houses.

seven­teen global goals con­sti­tute the core of the un’s his­toric sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment agenda. one of the crit­i­cal goals is to en­sure ac­cess to ad­e­quate, safe, af­ford­able hous­ing and ba­sic ameni­ties for all by 2030. The cur­rent gov­ern­ment has shown a clear in­tent and a de­ter­mined ef­fort to pro­vide af­ford­able hous­ing to the home­less, par­tic­u­larly the ur­ban and the ru­ral poor as well as ews.

The hous­ing prob­lem is not unique to in­dia. There are many coun­tries across the globe where there has been a se­vere hous­ing prob­lem in the past. Many of th­ese coun­tries have made ef­fi­cient and con­certed ef­forts to over­come this chal­lenge. sin­ga­pore and many other south-east asian coun­tries have suc­cess­fully solved hous­ing prob­lem in a planned and ef­fec­tive man­ner. In­dia is unique in sev­eral as­pects and can­not be com­pared to th­ese coun­tries, but there are quite a few clues in their pol­icy frame­work which we may fol­low to en­sure Hous­ing for all by 2022 – which hap­pens to be our 75th in­de­pen­dence an­niver­sary.

Af­ford­able hous­ing for all will not only im­prove the qual­ity of life of the ews and lig sec­tions but will also im­prove pro­duc­tiv­ity in the econ­omy. in­creased sup­ply of hous­ing will boost the de­mand in in­fras­truc­tural goods and other con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als. More­over, it will also boost hous­ing fi­nance and other ser­vice sec­tors. To­gether th­ese steps will re­sult in cre­at­ing jobs in con­struc­tion and other sec­tors and will have a mul­ti­plier im­pact on in­come gen­er­a­tion.

Dr Puspa is MP (Ra­jya Sabha). Dr Ra­maswamy is for­mer pro-vc of APG Shimla Univer­sity and le­gal ad­viser to the MP.

Arun ku­mar

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