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Cabinet approves development of affordable rental housing complexes for urban migrants

An expenditure of Rs 600 crore is estimated in the form of technology innovation grant, which will be released for projects using identified innovative technologies for construction

The Union Cabinet on July 8 approved development of affordable rental housing complexes (AHRCs) for urban migrants or poor as a sub-scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban.

An expenditure of Rs 600 crore is estimated in the form of a technology innovation grant, which will be released for projects using identified innovative technologies for construction. More than 3.5 lakh beneficiaries will benefit from ARHCs.

The scheme was announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as part of the Rs 20 lakh crore economic package to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The scheme is targeted at migrant labourers and the urban poor employed in the industries, service sector and manufacturing sector and would provide planned housing close to their workplace in industrial as well as in non-formal urban sectors.

A large part of the workforce in manufacturing industries, service providers in hospitality, health, domestic/commercial establishments, construction or other sectors, labourers, and students who come from rural areas or small towns seeking better opportunities will be the target beneficiaries under ARHCs.

Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Puri tweeted, "ARHCs will offer dignified living spaces to large part of our urban workforce, which migrates to urban centres in search of employment, but are forced to live in squalor. ARHCs will create a new ecosystem in cities, making affordable rental housing available close to one's place of work."

Under the scheme, existing vacant government funded housing complexes will be converted to ARHCs. Special incentives such as permission, 50 percent additional FAR/FSI and tax reliefs will be offered.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in massive reverse migration of workers/urban poor in the country who come from rural areas or small towns seeking better employment opportunities in urban areas. Usually, these migrants live in slums, informal/ unauthorised colonies or peri-urban areas to save rental charges. They spend lot of time on roads by walking/cycling to workplaces, risking their lives to cut on expenses.

ARHCs will have a two-pronged approach. First, the existing vacant government funded housing complexes will be converted into ARHCs through concession agreements for 25 years. Concessionaire will make the complexes liveable by repair/retrofit and maintenance of rooms and filling up infrastructure gaps like water, sewer/septage, sanitation, roads. States/Union Territories will select concessionaire through transparent bidding. Complexes will revert to urban local bodies (ULB) after 25 years to restart next cycle like earlier or run on their own, the ministry said.

Second, special incentives like use permission, 50 percent additional FAR/FSI, concessional loan at priority sector lending rate, tax reliefs at par with affordable housing, etc will be offered to private/public entities to develop ARHCs on their own available vacant land for 25 years.

“Under this, complexes constructed by the government can be converted (into affordable rental housing complexes) through the medium of a concessionaire or through the private sector. Land available with the public sector or with manufacturing companies can also be converted,” Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary Durga Shanker Mishra had said last month at a webinar organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and property consultant Savills, titled 'Resurgence: Real Estate 2020'.

“We will grant permissions on land, provide for extra Floor Area Ratio (FAR) and tax concessions. We are preparing a model on this and very soon the government will bring in guidelines. This is to help migrants who leave their towns to come to cities. We have observed that the biggest casualty is the way they live – their housing needs are compromised significantly."

“If a factory can provide facilities for rental housing within the complex, it’ll be a win-win situation for labourers, business, industry and the promoters,” he had said.
First Published on Jul 8, 2020 05:51 pm
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