NEW DELHI: Unlocking of land for creating affordable housing, a fast-tracked approval process and financial empowerment of the low-income categories is essential for the success of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's favoured Housing for All scheme, said Anuj Puri, chairman and country head of JLL India.
The much-publicized 'Housing for All' scheme as well as the Smart Cities and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) will be launched by the government on June 25.
Under the scheme, the government seeks to make 2 crore homes in urban areas, mainly to service the urban poor.
"By providing an interest subvention/subsidy scheme, the government is allowing access to cheaper structured finance to such low-income categories. Also, it has already previously increased the amount of home loan that can be availed by people in the metro cities, thereby acknowledging the fact that houses in urban areas are more expensive, that greater financial support is therefore required. By increasing the income limits for the EWS and LIG categories, the government has also ensured that a larger portion of the urban poor will be covered under the scheme," Puri said.
He pointed out that though the scheme provides homes to slum-dwellers at no cost through a PPP slum rehabilitation project, it offers no tangible solution for the urban poor who is not residing in a slum and wants to own a house in a metro city. "Though the loan amounts have been increased, his income levels may not qualify him for the loan disbursal amount that is high enough for him to buy a house in the current scenario, when housing prices are high," he said.
"To create housing for these urban poor, the only solution lies in the unlocking of land in the urban areas. The kind of housing supply that the government is targeting seems out of the question if appropriate lands are not made available," he added.
According to a quick back-of-envelope calculation by JLL, close to 57,392 acres would be required to build the 2 crore homes, if one were to assume a size of 500 sq ft per home and an available FSI of 4.
"Needless to say, this will require massive efforts to recognise and delineate the non-essential lands currently being held by large government bodies such as Indian Railways, Ministry of Public Enterprises, Port Trusts and Department of Heavy Industries. Unlocking such lands while speeding up the approval process and creating incentives for private sector participation are all needed as part of a large, coordinated effort if we are to realise the vision of Housing for All by 2022," said Puri.