Mission Convergence

Building affordable houses for smart cities

As part of the Smart Cities Mission (SCM), some cities have planned to converge with the Housing for All scheme in a bid to address the gap in the informal housing sector. A substantial portion of the SCM focuses on area-based development (ABD) that includes city improvement, renewal, redevelopment and extension. Affordable housing comprises a big component of ABD under the mission. Several smart cities (about 66 cities out of the selected 100) have included affordable housing as a part of ABD in their respective agendas to address the need for adequate housing.

Progress so far

With the objective of building the next generation of Indian cities where infrastructure is easily accessible and affordable, the mission looks at the daunting issue of slums, focuses on affordable housing, provides a very attractive interest subsidy for those wanting to avail a housing loan and offers assistance to those who already own land but find it difficult to raise the necessary resources to construct a house.

Under the smart city proposal for Raipur, a total of 15,614 dwelling units have been allotted under various schemes to shelter the urban poor. Further, in the Srinagar smart city, around Rs 37 billion has been approved for two components – ABD and pan-city development. The Karnataka government has planned over 200 affordable housing projects under the mission, with over 130 of these planned in Bela-gavi, Mangaluru and Tumkur, at a cost of less than Rs 1 billion per project. Reportedly, the Dahod Nagar Palika City has constructed 480 affordable houses under the Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme for economically weaker section (EWS) housing. These homes aim to provide shelter to about 3,000 homeless people. Further, under the affordable housing segment, Visakhapatnam has constructed shelters for homeless residents at five locations. Similarly, Faridabad has also constructed four shelters for the homeless. The Kerala government has also reportedly constructed over 20,048 EWS houses under its Kudumbashree Scheme.

A number of cities are working towards the goal of making themselves slum-free. Some of these are Agra, Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Jhansi, Muzaffarpur, Namchi, Puducherry, Pune, Raipur, Rajkot, Salem, Satna, Thiruvananthapuram, Tirupati, Tiruppur, Vadodara and Warangal. With regard to measures taken for slum redevelopment under the SCM, 27 cities have proposed a total of 41 slum redevelopment projects at an estimated cost of about Rs 38 billion. Muzaffarpur has included slum dwellers in the smart city proposal formulation, with about 1,500 people in slum areas participating in 20 programmes.

Key upcoming projects

There are a number of upcoming projects in the housing sector under the SCM. One such is a project on inclusive housing in Thane, for a population of 100,000 in a 70 acre brownfield township, to be developed at an estimated cost of about Rs 40 billion. A project by Janpath Government Housing Redevelopment is planned in Bhubaneswar at a cost of Rs 12.6 billion. Moreover, a number of slum redevelopment projects are coming up in Bhubaneswar in Bapuji Nagar, Kharavela Nagar, Shanti Nagar and under the Saheed Nagar Awas Yojana at a cost of Rs 8.4 billion. Rajkot too has an upcoming affordable housing project at an investment of Rs 5.56 billion. Further, a residential affordable housing project in Sector 43, Chandigarh, under the urban retrofit development component is planned at a cost of Rs 3.21 billion.

The way forward

According to a report “Brick by Brick: Moving towards Housing for All”, the movement of an additional 6 per cent of the population to urban India by 2030 will create a demand for another 25 million affordable housing units. The report has estimated that the current housing shortage in urban areas is around 10 million units, with the majority of the housing shortage in the EWS and lower-income group segment. However, the recent policy thrust on affordable housing, such as incentive schemes, accordance of infrastructure status, interest subsidy scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana have resulted in a sharp rise in new projects in the affordable housing segment for low-income groups. The provision of infrastructure status to affordable housing has opened up opportunities for developers to gain easier access to loans and restructure timelines to develop projects, thus providing the required impetus to encourage them to take up projects and boost sector growth.

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