Ahead of the 2017 Mumbai civic polls, Maharashtra’s Minister of State for Housing has proposed an increase in the size of the free dwelling units given to slum inhabitants in the city under the Slum Rehabilitation Scheme. He has also asked for one parking slot each for the families.
Minister of State for Housing Ravindra Waikar, a Shiv Sena leader, has proposed a hike the size of apartments allotted to rehabilitated families from Mumbai’s slums to a carpet area of 323 square feet, as against the current 269 square feet.
Waikar said, “Under the Prime Minister’s ‘housing for all’ mission, the Central government has prescribed the size of houses for the economically weaker sections as 30 square metres (323 square feet). This norm is being adopted for all projects under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) in the state. The same should be applied to slum rehabilitation projects as well.”
The government cannot have two different standards for housing the economically weaker sections in the state, Waikar added.
Besides an increase in the size of the tenement, Waikar is also pushing for more parking spaces for slum dwellers that the SRA rehabilitates. “As of now, the ratio is one parking space for eight tenements. This is woefully inadequate, and the vehicles then spill over on the roads. These days, even if a family is living in a slum it has a two-wheeler at least. Ideally, each family should be given one parking space,” he said.
More than 55% of Mumbai’s population lives in slums and all political parties see these residents as a major vote bank ahead of polls.
However, while the PMAY and the state government’s slum rehabilitation scheme, implemented by the state’s Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA), prescribes different tenement sizes for the economically weaker sections, they are also based on different models. Under the PMAY, formulated under Narendra Modi’s pet ‘housing for all mission,’ beneficiaries can get subsidised housing. The Union government provides a funding of Rs1.5 lakh for every tenement created under the scheme, while the state tops it off with another Rs 1 lakh.
In contrast, the SRA scheme offers dwellers living in structures built before January 2000, permanent houses of 269 square feet in residential buildings completely free.
Under PMAY, the 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.
When the Maharashtra government adopted PMAY in 51 cities, last year, the state decided not to implement the slum redevelopment approach where the its SRA was already undertaking slum redevelopment work. The state government feared that people will not opt for subsidised housing after they got used to the free-of-cost rehabilitation under the SRA scheme.
A senior official from the state housing department said, “At the moment there’s no concrete plan to change any norm under the SRA. The minister of state has put forth a proposal. The government will decide if it wants to take it up.”