6 Jan 2014

Several Key Decisions Taken by Ministry of Housing & Poverty Alleviation During 2013 for Improvement of Infrastructure & Basic Services to Poor

The Ministry of Housing & Poverty Alleviation has taken several important policy decision during the year 2013  for the improvement of infrastructure and basic services to the poor residing in cities and towns of India. The details are as follows:

1.      Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2013,
           During the year under review, the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha. Soon after its introduction, the Bill was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Urban Development for review and making suggestions.
The  Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2013 provides for a uniform regulatory environment, to protect consumer interests, help speedy adjudication of disputes and ensure orderly growth of the real estate sector and has been much awaited by all aspiring home buyers. The Bill is a pioneering initiative to protect the interest of consumers, to promote fair play in real estate transactions and to ensure timely execution of projects.
The Bill contains elaborate provisions to bring in the much needed transparency in real estate dealings through provisions for registration of real estate projects and real estate agents with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority; functions and duties of promoters and agents; rights and duties of allottees etc., The Bill once enacted will lead to establishment of Real Estate Regulatory Authority and  Real Estate Appellate Tribunal  in every State for registration of all real estate projects and for speedier dispute resolution.  Stringent penalties have been sought to be imposed on habitual offenders. This it is believed will act as a deterrent for those few erring builders who bring bad name to the developer community at large.
Currently, the real estate and housing sector is largely unregulated and opaque, with consumers often unable to procure complete information, or enforce accountability against builders and developers in the absence of effective regulation. The Bill is expected to ensure greater accountability towards consumers, and to significantly reduce frauds and delays. The Bill aims at restoring confidence of the general public in the real estate sector; by instituting transparency and accountability in real estate and housing transactions which in turn will enable the sector to access capital and financial markets essential for its long term growth.
The Bill is also expected to promote regulated and orderly growth through efficiency, professionalism and standardization. It seeks to ensure consumer protection, without adding another stage in the procedure for sanctions.
2.      Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2013 :

The Bill provides for protection of livelihoods rights, social security of street vendors, regulation of urban street vending in the country and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The proposed Bill provides for a survey of existing street vendors. The manner of identification of street vendors will be specified in the scheme made by the concerned State/UT Governments as per provisions of the proposed Bill During the year, the Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha and is pending for consideration in the Rajya Sabha.

3. Rajiv Awas Yojana Scheme  Launched : 

            With a vision to move towards a Slum Free India, Rajiv Awas Yojana ( RAY) was launched as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS), and to be implemented in Mission mode during 2013-2022. RAY will adopt a two pronged approach of  bringing all existing slums within the formal system and enabling them to avail the basic amenities that is available for the rest of the city and  Redressing the failures of the formal system that lie behind the creation of slums by planning for affordable housing stock for the urban poor and initiating crucial policy changes required for facilitating the same. 

            In the implementation phase, RAY will cover all towns, cities and urban agglomerations in the country. The selection of which will be made by the States in consultation with the Centre giving priority to District headquarters, cities of religious, heritage and tourist importance with due consideration to the criterion of pace of growth of the city, of slums within the city and predominance of Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and minority population and other weaker and vulnerable section of the society. 

            The Government of India would fund 50%, 75% and 80% of the project cost for towns, cities and urban agglomerations with Population more than 5 lakhs, less than 5 lakhs and those in North- Eastern Region and special category States of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand, respectively. 

4.  Affordable Housing in Partnership Scheme (AHP):

            The AHP  has been dovetailed with RAY with an aim to increase affordable housing stock. The Scheme which was earlier launched in 2009 in pursuance of the National Urban Housing and Habitat Policy 2007 to promote the agenda of ‘Affordable Housing for All’ was redesigned following the recommendations of the Task Force on Affordable Housing constituted by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation in 2011.

            The modified Scheme will provide a subsidy of Rs. 75,000 per Economically Weaker Section (EWS) or Low Income Group (LIG) Dwelling Units of size 21-40 sqm. for housing and internal development components in affordable housing projects taken up under various kinds of partnerships. 

            The projects would have a minimum size of 250 affordable dwelling units (DUs) with a mix of EWS, LIG, Middle Income Group and Higher Income Groups along with Commercial space of which at least 60 percent of the Floor Space Index is to be reserved for dwelling units of Carpet Area of not more than 60 sq. mts. The project shall also mandatorily reserve 35 percent of the total number of dwelling units for EWS category (21-27 sqm.).The Scheme will apply to all towns, cities and urban agglomerations, mainly to the cities covered under Rajiv Awas Yojana. 

5. Rajiv Rinn Yojana (RRY):

            Under the Scheme , an interest subsidy of 5% (500 Basis Points) on loans will be granted to EWS and LIG categories to construct their houses or extend the existing ones. The Loan upper limit would be Rs 5 lakh for EWS and 8 lakh for LIG; with the interest subsidy however limited to the loan amount of Rs 5lakh, The loan duration of 15 years would be normally entertained.  One million beneficiaries are proposed to be covered under the Scheme during the 12th Plan period 2012-17, involving a total outlay of Rs 3580 crore. The outflow in the subsequent three 5-year Plans would be in the order of Rs 8093 crore, Rs 4878 crore and Rs 1055 crore respectively. 

6. National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM):

During the year under review, the Government also approved the restructuring of the centrally sponsored Scheme of Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY) in the 12th Plan as the National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM) with an allocation of approximately Rs. 6,405crore.  

            The NULM will be implemented in two phases: Phase I (2013-2017) and Phase II (2017-2022). In phase I, NULM will target all cities with a population of 100,000 or more and district headquarter towns with a population of less than 100,000 as per Census of India 2011. The Mission of NULM is to reduce poverty and vulnerability of the urban poor households by enabling them access to gainful self-employment and skilled wage employment opportunities, resulting in an appreciable improvement in their livelihoods on a sustainable basis, through building strong grassroots level institutions of the poor. 

            The mission would also aim at providing shelter equipped with essential services to the urban homeless in a phased manner. In addition, the Mission would also address livelihood concerns of the urban street vendors by facilitating access to suitable spaces, institutional credit, social security and skills for accessing emerging market opportunities.

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