Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation
New Delhi : Government today admitted that the present urban planning paradigm in the country is anachronistic, has proved to be exclusionary for the poor and that there is a need for a complete overhaul of the system so as to provide housing and employment to the poor.
Speaking on the occasion of the World Habitat Day today, Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja emphasised on the steps being taken by the government to make it more inclusionary for the poor.
"The current paradigm of urban planning is based on the anachronistic concept of static Master Planning. This planning process has proved to be exclusionary. Even though more than 80 per cent of the population in our cities belong to poor and low-income groups yet these master plans are based on the space requirement norms of the average middle class residents," Selja said.
She pointed out that the Master Plans have failed to provide space for shelter and livelihoods to the poorer urban communities and insisted that there is a need for complete overhaul in the system.
Enumerating the various measures being taken by her ministry to improve the situation, Selja said her ministry is motivating and prodding the state governments to modify the planning model to that of transportation-led inclusionary planning.
The government has also introduced in Parliament the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2012 to help the poor fight poverty through self-enterprise and to earn their living without harassment.
The ministry is also working on launching the National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM) under which skill training and credit support would be provided to the poor.
HUPA Secretary A K Misra underlined the need for integrating the housing debt market with the financial market, foreign direct investment, setting up of joint ventures, availability and affordability of loans to EWS section and to explore potential of rental housing finance and community led housing initiatives.
He also mentioned that the government is in the process of forming an apex real estate regulatory body to provide guidelines to facilitate single window services.
Government, through its Affordable Housing for All and ISHUP schemes, is already making efforts to deal with the issue.
"The creation of a Mortgaged Risk Guarantee Fund and range of fiscal initiatives would encourage banks to lend for lower income housing in the country," Misra said.
The theme of the World Habitat Day this year is "Changing Cities: Building Opportunities".