Housing Ministry Had A Busy 2017
The housing and urban affairs ministry was busy in implementing the government's flagship schemes pertaining to housing, cleanliness and smart city in 2017. The year gone by also witnessed Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at loggerheads over Metro fare increase.
During the year, diplomat-turned-politician Puri took over the charge of the ministry after M Venkaiah Naidu was nominated as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate for the vice- presidential election.
The government also merged the two ministries of urban development and housing and urban poverty alleviation to form a single ministry of housing and urban affairs. Officials said it was done with an aim to ensure cohesiveness in formulating policies related to urban issues and cut the flab in bureaucracy.
Kejriwal sought reviewing of the Metro fare increase and offered to bear half the losses arising out of the proposed rollback of fares. Puri, however, maintained that neither the Centre nor the Delhi government had powers to roll back the fares fixed by the fixation committee.
The Delhi Metro lost over three lakh commuters a day after the steep fare hike came into effect on October 10. This gave fresh ammunition to Kejriwal, who attacked the Centre over the hike.
A controversy also erupted when Kejriwal was not invited to the launch function of Delhi Metro's Magenta Line, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the presence of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
During the Winter Session, Parliament also passed a Bill to protect slums and unauthorised colonies in the national capital region from punitive action till a framework for orderly arrangements are in place.
Urban transport was accorded high priority by the ministry as about 180 km new Metro sections had been opened for commercial operations during 2017, making the total operational 430 km across the country in 10 cities, the ministry said.
A Metro Rail Policy was unveiled during the year gone by to ascertain the feasibility of Metro rail projects from economic, social and environmental perspective.
The year also witnessed the ministry pushing the states to notify the real estate rules without diluting its tough provisions.
"Twenty-six States/UTs have notified Real Estate Rules under #RERA. 6 States/UTs have established a permanent Real Estate Regulatory Authority and 23 States/UTs have established an interim Real Estate Regulatory Authority," the ministry said in a tweet.
Around 20,000 projects have been registered with regulatory authorities under Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016.
The ministry also started preparation to conduct cleanliness survey 2018 from January 4 to March 10, 2018 to evaluate the cleanliness of over 4,000 cities. Indore secured first rank in 2017.
Over 37.5 lakh houses have been sanctioned so far under the Modi government's flagship scheme Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban, with an investment of Rs 2.03 lakh crore. Out of the approved total Central assistance of Rs 57,669 crore, Rs 12,916 crore has already been released to states and Union Territories.
The mission targets to provide houses to all urban poor by 2022. The estimated shortage of houses in urban areas is pegged at 1.2 crore.
Under the Smart City Mission, 90 cities have been selected in 3 rounds so far and 77 of them have already incorporated special purpose vehicles to implement the projects. Projects worth Rs 1,35,958 crore are under various stages of implementation under Smart City Mission to improve urban infrastructure, ease of living and quality of life in urban areas. Projects worth Rs 1,872 crore have been completed.
Close to 43 lakh individual household toilets have been built and 1,977 cities declared open defecation free as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban so far. During 2017, over 1,470 cities were declared open-defecation free(ODF).
To push rejuvenation and urban transformation, a provision of Rs 10,000 crore has been proposed as an incentive for the next three years under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT). Under the scheme, over 470 projects worth Rs 18,884 crore have been awarded.
With inputs from Housing News