As India forges ahead to become one of world’s leading economies, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) is enriching itself academically, hoping to emerge as a premier housing entity like Singapore’s Housing and Development Board and the New York City Housing Authority.
Mhada will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Mumbai to get inputs for developing housing models and streamline the working of the housing body.
University academicians will advise Mhada on formulating policies and will also evaluate and monitor projects the housing body undertakes. In return, research students will get a chance to work with Mhada on the projects it implements.
Amarjeet Singh Manhas, chairman, Mhada (Mumbai Board), who mooted the idea said it will benefit the housing body a great deal.
“This association will expose us to the best national and international practices,” Manhas, who has been a member of the university’s management council, told Hindustan Times.
He said Mhada and the university are discussing the modalities and the partnership will be made formal soon.
With a majority of the city’s population finding homes in Mumbai beyond reach, Mhada houses are in great demand.
Lakhs apply for a few thousands flats every time Mhada announces its lottery. The housing body has only five acres of land left in its bank and has been struggling with ways to create a substantial housing stock.
Abhay Pethe, director, department of economics, University of Mumbai called this arrangement a “positive step, which is being adopted across the globe”.
Pethe said it will create a valuable think tank in a city where housing is an important issue.
“Policies are framed by Mhada’s staff or with the help of NGOs, but here intellectuals like economists, sociologists and political thinkers will deliberate on the issue. This will benefit the city,” Pethe said.
He said the university’s students will also get practical training and learn how to enforce rules and regulations.
Students studying Urban Economics, and their professors, will take part in the exercise and other departments of the university will contribute.
Vilas Avachat, chairman, Indian Institute of Architects said: “Educated youth will introduce innovative ideas, which are lacking in Mhada because they are saddled with routine work. These students will also have an edge in the job market because they have worked with Mhada.”