In yet another report card presented today in the Capital, Minister of Urban Development and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation M Venkaiah Naidu highlighted his government's drive on urban transformation.
Here is what you need to know, on how this government has fared on India’s city renewal efforts:
1) The Minister stressed that construction of a little over 2 lakh (20,25,573) affordable houses for urban poor has been approved between 2014-2017, the 3 years of BJP led government. This he pitched as a big success against a meagre number of just over 12 lakh (12,40,904) sanctioned under a decade of JNNURM. Sure, the numbers look much better, but they are still at 10 percent of the 2 crore affordable home target in urban areas, that Naidu’s government has set for itself under housing for all mission by 2022.
2) To meet this tall target of 2 crore homes, the government knows it must bring in private developers to build homes under PMAY as well. But private developers have been cribbing saying, the price of land in cities is too high. So, the minister today gave a piece of good news. He said that new guidelines will soon be issued to enable private investments in affordable housing even on private lands under Affordable Housing in Partnership component of PMAY (Urban). So far, only public sector partnership has been allowed.
3) The most interesting announcement today came on the much awaited Municipal Bond float from the city of Pune. The first Municipal Bond issue under this government from Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) will be listed on the BSE on June 23. The first issue is much more modest than expected, at Rs 200 crore. PMC has earned itself a long-term credit rating of AA+ indicating a stable outlook. Pune is the second-largest corporation in Maharashtra earns the bulk of its revenues from property taxes and local body taxes. PMC plans to use the funds for a 24*7 water supply project for the city, as it attempts to meet its smart city mission. This bond issue will be guaranteed by the Maharashtra Government.
4) Get ready for a livability index for Indian cities. This will be launched on June 23. Cities will now not only be ranked on their cleanliness, they will be ranked on several other parameters like health and education infrastructure, security and safety, to name a few, under the livability index. The next batch of smart cities will also be announced on the same day.5) The minister also added that Delhi and Mumbai have enabled online approvals for building permits. Other cities with a population of over 1 million will go online by Sept 2017. There has also been progress on the much desired Master Plans - 172 cities have reported over 90 percent property tax collection during the last three years.