Cabinet approves rental housing scheme for migrants, govt to spend Rs 600 crore
An affordable rental housing scheme for migrants who went back to their home states during the lockdown has been approved by the Cabinet on Wednesday, officials aware of the development said.
The Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHCs) scheme under the ministry of housing and urban affairs will be a sub-scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) with an estimated expenditure of around Rs 600 crore. The scheme aims to cover nearly 3 lakh beneficiaries initially.
“Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in massive reverse migration of workers and urban poor in the country who come from rural areas or small towns for seeking better employment opportunities in urban areas. Usually, these migrants live in slums, informal/unauthorized colonies or peri-urban areas to save rental charges. They spend a lot of time on roads by walking/ cycling to workplaces, risking their lives to cut on the expenses,” the official said.
“A large part of workforce in manufacturing industries, service providers in hospitality, health, domestic/commercial establishments, and construction or other sectors, labourers, students etc who come from rural areas or small towns seeking better opportunities will be the target beneficiary under ARHCs,” the official added.
The ARHC scheme will have a two-pronged approach; first, existing vacant government funded housing complexes will be converted into ARHCs through a concession agreement for 25 years.
According to internal ministry data, there are 1.2 lakh such government houses available built under the erstwhile UPA- led scheme Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), NDA government led PMAY and housing schemes of the state governments. Of these Maharashtra has the maximum number of accommodations available at 35,000 and Delhi 30,000 houses.
“Concessionaire will make the complexes livable by repair/retrofit and maintenance of rooms and filling up infrastructure gaps like water, sewer/ septage, sanitation, roads etc. States/UTs will select concessionaire through transparent bidding. Complexes will revert to Urban Local Bodies after 25 years to restart the next cycle earlier or to run on their own,” the official said.
Secondly, special incentives like use permission, 50% additional Floor Area Ratio or Floor Space Index, concessional loan at priority sector lending rates, tax reliefs at par with affordable housing among others will be offered to private and public entities to develop ARHCs on their own available vacant land for 25 years.
“ARHCs will create a new ecosystem in urban areas making housing available at affordable rent close to places of work and will cut down unnecessary travel, congestion and pollution,” the proposal for the scheme said, Hindustan Times has reviewed the note.
“The investment under ARHCs is expected to create new job opportunities. Government funded vacant housing stock will be converted into ARHCs for economically productive use. The scheme would create a conducive environment for entities to develop AHRCs on their own vacant land which will enable new investment opportunities and promote entrepreneurship in rental housing sector,” it added.