Shri Ajay Maken, Union Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation today informed that the Government had sanctioned projects worth Rs 41723 crores for building of 15,69,000 houses/dwelling units for Economically Weaker/Lower Income Group sections under the Ministry’s flagship JnNURM (BSUP and ISHDP) programmes.
Shri Maken said this while addressing the National Editors’ Conference here today, of these approximately 10 lakh houses were either ready or under various stages of completion. Similarly under the Pilot phase of Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY), in the 195 identified beneficiaries cities Rs 100 crores had been released for undertaking the finalisation of slum free city plans. 40 Projects worth Rs 1769 crores for construction of 32517 dwelling units in 33 cities had been sanctioned till the 10th March 2013, Shri Maken informed.
Informing about the Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY) of the Ministry, Shri Maken apprised that during the XI Five Year Plan, a total expenditure of 2691 crores was made, 27.37 lakhs of beneficiaries had been provided Skill Training and 12.76 lakh of individuals were assisted for self-employment and also 6.29 lakh women beneficiaries were assisted for setting up of Group Enterprises. For the year 2012-13, as on 22nd March 2013, Rs 685.62 crores have been released to States and so far 3.23 lakhs of beneficiaries have been provided Skill Training and 53329 individuals were assisted for self-employment and also 29107 women beneficiaries were assisted for setting up of Group Enterprises.
Elaborating further the Minister said that in order to have a mission mode approach to Urban Livelihood, the Ministry will launch a National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM) during 2013-14, which will replace the existing SJSRY. Two new Schemes namely, Support to Urban Street Vendors and Shelter for Urban Homeless has incorporated in NULM. The targets for Skill Training under NULM will be 4.0 million during the XII Plan period. It is also proposed to construct 1600 shelters for urban homeless during the XII Plan period. As far as 2013-14 is concerned, it is proposed to provide skill training to 4 lakh urban poor beneficiaries and to construct 200 shelters for urban homeless.
Shri Maken informed that Ministry had set up a Committee under the Chairmanship of Shri Dhanendra Kumar for ‘’Streamlining Approval Procedures for Real Estate Projects’’ (SAPREP). The Committee had since submitted its Report and the Ministry was in the process of formulating a single window system for clearance of Real Estate Projects throughout the country, which was expected to bring down average approval time from 196 days to 45-60 days. Apart from other things, the process involved developing of Single Composite Application Form (CAF) which entailed seeking and getting permissions from the Municipal/State Governments/Central Government agencies simultaneously. The Ministry will incorporate the recommendation of the SAPREP Committee as one of the mandatory reforms to be carried out by the States, if they were to avail the funds under Rajiv Awas Yojana.
The Ministry had recently set a Credit Risk Guarantee Fund Trust (CRGFT), alongwith the National Housing Bank, HUDCO, Financial Institutions and Banks. It was expected to mobilise Credit worth about Rs 60000 crores to fund housing in the EWS and LIG sector. All these coupled with ECB and 3% priority sector lending is expected to significantly bridge the gap in the area of shelter and housing.
On the new initiatives of the Ministry, Shri Maken said that the Ministry had decided to frame and formulate a Slum Upgradation Index for monitoring periodically the upgradation of slums in the country. This index will reflect the trend in the growth of slums and their characteristics for a period of time. In this direction, the Ministry has decided to set up a High Power Committee to suggest methodology for developing the slum Index in India and report will be submitted within 3 months. He further stated that Rajiv Awaas Yojana benefits will also be extended to unidentified as well as non notified slums.
Speaking about the Urban Housing Fund, recently declared by the Finance Minister in his Budget Speech. Shri Maken informed that a separate fund of Rs 2000 crores, to be administered by the National Housing Bank had been envisaged to support financing and credit to affordable housing sector. With an aim of benefitting the Economically Weaker and Lower Income Group segments which were not benefitting under the current priority sector lending limit of Rs 25 lakhs, the Ministry had decided to limit the loan amount to Rs 8 lakhs and the cost of dwelling units to Rs 12/15 lakhs.
Shri Maken also announced the formulation of ‘Housing Start Up Index’ (HSUI) by his ministry shortly in collaboration with Reserve Bank of India. He said that internationally, only 6 countries namely Canada, United States, Japan, France, Australia and New Zealand are compiling data related to building permits/housing starts on a regular basis. The Index will serve as a tool/measure to reflect the change in housing sector and related industries vis a vis the entire economy. The number of housing starts during a given period reflects the institutional response to the existing number of building permits, besides the current demand for houses. Accordingly, Housing starts is considered to be a lead economic indicator because of its Forward-Backward linkages with more than 270 industries.
Considering the importance of HSUI, Shri Maken said that it was felt necessary to develop the Index which can be used as a tool to monitor the movements in housing and related sectors of the Indian economy on a regular basis. Giving the progress made so far in this direction, Shri Maken stated that the Pilot HSUI is likely to be released jointly by ministry of HUPA and RBI shortly.
With a view to protect the rights of urban street vendors and to regulate street vending activities, Shri Maken said that the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2012 has been introduced in Lok Sabha on 6th September 2012. The Standing Committee has since submitted its Report and the Ministry was in the process of taking a much more vendor friendly Bill to the Cabinet at the earliest.
The Minister further stated that in order to provide a uniform regulatory environment to enforce disclosure, fair practice and accountability norms and fast track dispute resolution mechanism in real estate transactions, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation had drafted a Bill titled ‘Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Bill 2012 in consultation with all stakeholders. Provisions for dispute resolution mechanism have been brought out in the said Bill. It was expected to be brought up for the consideration of Cabinet soon before being introduced in the Parliament.