Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, in the Union Budget 2019-20, informed that the construction of public infrastructure and affordable housing would be taken up through innovative instruments such as joint development and concession.

The government seems enthusiastic in introducing innovative ways to monetize assets of loss-making Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE). It is preparing a cabinet note for a policy to utilize land belonging to the government and CPSEs or Public Sector Units (PSU) for constructing affordable housing projects.

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As per the budget FY20, large public infrastructures could be built on land parcels held by Central Ministries and Central Public Sector Enterprises all around the country.

Under the directions of Cabinet Secretariat, the Government Land Information System (GLIS) has been devised and hosted and National Centre of Geo-Informatics (NcOG) portal. The GLIS is an institutional framework having a data bank of all lands available with the Union Government. This is being updated with detail of buildings“, said a Finance Ministry note.

A draft cabinet note is under process to devise policy to utilize land belonging to government and sick/loss-making CPSEs for affordable housing“, it added.

The successful implementation of this policy would bring the much-talked about target of the Union Government, i.e. providing “housing for all” by the year 2022, another step closer to its goal.

Several sick PSUs are sitting on huge tracts of land that have the potential for redevelopment and commercialization. The Indian Drug and Pharmaceuticals Ltd (IDPL) Company, covering an area of 834-acre of prime land in Rishikesh, is one such examples.

Scooters India is another PSU having prime land near UP. There are many other PSUs with surplus land that could be used for creating dwelling units under the affordable housing scheme.

Launched on June 25, 2015, the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) Mission, aims at providing housing for all in urban areas by 2022. According to data from the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, 32.07 lakh houses have been constructed and delivered so far under the scheme, out of the total sanctioned 1.03 crore houses.

Recently at Lok Sabha, Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri, added that around 60.50 lakh units are at various stages of construction. As per the PMAY(U) guidelines, the size of a house for economically weaker sections (EWS) could be up to 30 square metre carpet area.

States and UTs, however, have the flexibility to improve the size of houses in consultation and approval of the ministry.

The curriculum includes the Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS), whereby the government provides an interest subsidy of 6.5 per cent, 4 per cent and 3 per cent on housing loan amounts up to Rs 6 lakh, Rs 9 lakh and Rs 12 lakh, respectively, for beneficiaries belonging to economically weaker sections (EWS) or the lower income group (LIG), middle income group-I (MIG-I) and MIG-II categories. It also includes the ‘In-situ Slum Redevelopment’ (ISSR) scheme allowing Central assistance of Rs 1 lakh per house, among other benefits for affordable housing.

With a view to support the target of “housing for all“, a model tenancy law was also introduced in the Union Budget of 2019-20. The government has already come up with the draft model law. The Finance Ministry note says that a cabinet note with the Draft Model Tenancy Act has been submitted. After approval of the Union Cabinet, the Act would be circulated to the states and Union Territories for their consideration and possible adoption.

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