With the Rajiv Awaas Yojana (RAY), the Union government’s flagship scheme for ‘slum-free India’ by 2022, proving to be a non-starter in Mumbai, the state government now plans to ask the Centre to concede to a separate set of norms for the city.
This would include reducing the cut-off year for eligibility, demand for increasing the Centre’s contribution, addressing the issue of land paucity and slum density in Mumbai. Minister of state for housing Sachin Ahir said with a court-mandated freeze on extending the cut-off date for free housing to slum dwellers in the city, Mumbai cannot follow RAY’s guideline of granting ‘inheritable lease rights’ to all those who have been residing in slums for over five years. “We have proposed that while all slum dwellers before the legal cut-off date of 1995 can get free land and subsidised housing as per the Centre’s norms, those between 1995 and 2000 will have to shell out a specific amount,” said Ahir.
He added that the anyone who has been living in slums after 2000 will be rendered ineligible for formal housing, unlike other cities where RAY is implemented as an all-inclusive policy.
With an allocation of Rs 32,230 crore in the 12th Five Year Plan, RAY aims at rebuilding slum settlements, providing them with social and physical infrastructure and easy access to institutional credit. While public land is made available free of cost, RAY requires the beneficiary to bear 25 per cent of the construction cost, with the state and Centre chipping in 25 and 50 per cent. A similar pattern of funding is followed for infrastructure provision with the exception that the beneficiary’s 25-per cent share is borne by the urban local body.
“As per our estimates, the state government will have to shell out as much as Rs 10,000 crore if it has to provide its share,” said Ahir.
Housing department officials said paucity of land in Mumbai in comparison to its high slum density also poses a problem. According to Mumbai Human Development Index, about 56 per cent of the city’s population lives in slums concentrated on six per cent of its geographical area. “We have asked the Centre to make available vast stretches of salt pan lands for not only rehabilitating slum settlements but also for creation of affordable housing,” said the official.