The NDA government’s proposed ‘Housing For All’ mission will pave way for private developers to leverage public land in order to redevelop slums in-situ. The proposed policy of using land as a resource will signal a major shift from the UPA government’s state-funded slum rehabilitation scheme Rajiv Awas Yojana.
The mission, aimed at addressing housing shortfall in urban and rural India, is expected to be launched by PM Narendra Modi in July. Sources in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation said the slum redevelopment policy will be based on the Gujarat model. Launched in 2013 when Modi was CM, the Gujarat policy is an improvement on a similar scheme in Mumbai, brought by Shiv Sena 17 years ago.
Venkaiah Naidu, Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, and Rural Development Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh attended a meeting chaired by PM Modi Thursday to review preparations for the proposed mission. Naidu said, “Shifting slum residents… is not easy as they are unwilling to leave. In Mumbai, private developers are able to convince them. We need to adopt models that are in force in Mumbai and Gujarat in order to achieve the aim of slum-free India by 2022.”
He added: “The PM made certain observations which will be incorporated”. Naidu further said that to encourage private participation, the new slum policy will offer incentives such as interest subvention and grant of higher Floor Space Index, which defines the extent of construction allowed on a plot of land.
The Gujarat scheme allows private developers, who construct free houses for slum residents in-situ in vertical buildings, to commercially exploit the remaining slum land and build apartments for sale.
Mumbai was the first Indian city to introduce free in-situ housing for slum residents in 1998 with the stated intent of resettling 8 lakh slum families over a five-year period. However, till date, just over a lakh families have benefited from the scheme.
Gujarat Housing Secretary Mona Khandhar said while the state’s scheme was inspired from the Mumbai model, a major difference is that Gujarat did away with a clause that mandates consent of 70 per cent ‘eligible’ families in a slum cluster. “Instead of slum residents nominating a developer, which was causing problems, we decided to go for e-tendering wherein the builder quoting the highest premium amount for his share of land is awarded the redevelopment project. The scheme has been implemented in Surat, Baroda, Ahmedabad and Rajkot. We have so far built 2,500 houses under six projects with concerned municipalities earning Rs 500 crore in premium,” said Khandhar.
The Centre recently issued orders stating that Rajiv Awas Yojana stands discontinued and previously approved projects, where no work has started on ground, will be subsumed under the new slum policy.