Cheap homes: Govt takes on cheats

  • Manasi Phadke, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Aug 21, 2016 00:53 IST

As part of its ambitious housing-for-all mission, the Maharashtra government plans to create a database of all beneficiaries by storing their biometrics and Aadhaar card details to ensure that the benefit of the state’s scheme for low-cost housing is redeemed only once.

Further, the state government has also decided to put a ten-year restriction on the resale of houses built under the mission on the lines of the rules on houses of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) and the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA).

A senior bureaucrat from the state housing department said, “The Centre’s guidelines for the scheme do not mandate a restriction on resale, but we thought it would be better to have such a stipulation on the lines of SRA and MHADA to ensure the scheme serves its purpose and is not taken advantage of.”

Even under the SRA and MHADA schemes, there have been several complaints over the years about double allotments, prompting the state government to set up a biometric database for the mission, formulated under the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.

“Every city is supposed to present a demand assessment for the requirement of low-cost houses within their jurisdiction. City administrations have been told to get Aadhaar card details and biometrics of beneficiaries at the time of application. All the details will be entered on a dedicated web page,” the housing department official said.

The state government has set an informal target of creating 19 lakh affordable houses across 51 cities in Maharashtra by 2022 as part of the mission. The Central government has charted out four approaches to provide low-cost housing – slum redevelopment on the existing plot, an interest subsidy scheme, creation of housing stock on a public private partnership model, and beneficiary-led individual houses.

Another official said the government has granted several concessions for projects to be undertaken under ‘housing for all,’ so the state cabinet especially felt the need to maintain a database of beneficiaries and put some restrictions on the resale of the homes.

Among various concessions, the state has decided to grant government and semi-government land required for construction of homes under the scheme at a nominal rate. The cabinet has also approved reductions in development fees, stamp duties and land measurement fees for projects under housing for all.

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