How Can We Make Affordable Urban Housing A Reality?
The Housing For All scheme launched by the central government aims to provide affordable housing to the low-income group. The ever-increasing problem of slum and unplanned construction has added to the overcrowding of cities. Every year, there is a huge influx of people to the cities. The increasing input cost for construction and dependence on private developers for the construction of the housing complexes has led to an unplanned and haphazard development of urban areas.
But, we can achieve this dream provided we are mindful of certain facts.
Formulate guidelines to identify beneficiaries.
Identifying genuine beneficiaries for any project is the first hurdle. Hence, it is very important to formulate guidelines that would help screen the beneficiaries for the project. The National Population Register and the unique identification numbers and the documents issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India, linked with the income-related information would be instrumental in identifying the beneficiaries.
Innovative financing system
Getting the required finance and the methods to repay loans are the main concerns for the one who want to own a house or renovate it. This is the case with all the families that come under the economically weaker section or the low-income group. There is a need to make provisions for flexible repayment options and innovative loan provision options for these groups so that availing of loans and its repayment become easier.
Incentive for the private real estate developers
The real estate developers can be roped in for urban housing development. They can, to a greater extent, help in designing and developing affordable housing complex for the low-income group. The real estate developers can be offered policy-level incentives. The urban local bodies can provide free sales area and extra floor space index (FSI) to real estate developers. A feasible and realistic scheme with the cost-benefit analysis must be carried out so to ensure that the scheme for affordable housing is actually realistic and feasible.
Streamlining land records
The most important component for any type of construction is the land. The availability of land in tier 1 cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata is very scarce, given the development of real estate. The availability of the land can be determined by computerisation of land records using geographical information system and disputes redressal system and master plan implementation. There is still dearth of required space for the urban housing schemes, despite central government and some state governments working in this direction.
Integration in the city master plan
Urban housing schemes need to be included in the master city plan, so that specific zones can be earmarked for the development of the housing complexes. Some cities have included housing schemes in their master plan, but it needs to be replicated by other cities as well.
Well-researched rental schemes to be deployed
The schemes of the rental housing had been introduced in the past but they were not successful. Since proper framework for the successful implementation of the scheme was not in place, rental housing developed in far flung areas were not suitable for affordable housing.
Roping in private players
Housing For All by 2022 is an attainable vision, provided private players too pitch in. The private developers can play a major role in terms of providing technological solutions and delivery. Since the construction cost makes up the bulk of the selling price of the affordable housing, hence, innovative plans are needed to reduce the input cost.