Print
XClose
Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation
03-December-2010 16:56 IST
Kumari Selja says there is a need to address the issues of faulty urban land policy and urban planning models responsible for mushrooming of slums
The Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation And Tourism Minister Kumari Selja has said that there is a dire need to address the issues of faulty urban land policy and urban planning models responsible for mushrooming of slums. Addressing a function she said, Current land policies would need drastic changes to address the interests of the urban poor. . Speaking on the occasion of the 5th Anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) in New Delhi today Kumari Selja said, the States need to re-look at the policies of making land and living space available to the masses in cities, especially the poor at a much faster rate than the pace of urban population growth.

Here is the full text of Minister’speech:

‘’I welcome Hon’ble Finance Minister and all participants on the occasion of this 5th Anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). I express my sincere thanks to Hon’ble Finance Minister for gracing this occasion.

Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), which was launched 5 years back, has been an immensely popular programme across the country. For the first time, an integrated approach for city-wide infrastructure and shelter and civic amenities to the urban poor was propagated. My Ministry implements the Basic Services to the Urban Poor (BSUP) & Integrated Housing & Slum Development Programme (IHSDP) components of JNNURM. These components represent the human face of JNNURM and envisage a 7-Point Charter of entitlements and services to the urban poor. The Charter includes: land tenure, affordable housing, water, sanitation, education, health and social security.

The pace of progress of BSUP and IHSDP has been uneven across the country. Several States have taken bold initiatives and shown remarkable commitment towards improving the lot of urban poor and slum dwellers. In spite of several constraints in implementation many States and cities have performed commendably in BSUP and IHSDP. I congratulate them. Today, we would be felicitating and recognising some such States and Cities.

I would not go into the achievements made under JNNURM so far. I am sure all of you, who are our partners in this mission, are well aware of that. We are already reaching the end of seven year period and there is still a lot to be done on the implementation as well as reforms’ front.

Learning from the experience of JNNURM, the Government has announced the bold vision of a Slum-free India through Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY). RAY envisages central support to States that are willing to assign property rights to slum dwellers. RAY would adopt a ‘whole city’, ‘whole slum’ strategy with city as the unit unlike JNNURM which turned out to be a ‘pick and choose’ approach towards slum redevelopment.

RAY would have a two-pronged strategy. The first is to bring the existing slums within the formal system and enable them to avail of the same level of basic amenities as the rest of the town. The second is to undertake measures to prevent the creation of new slums through appropriate urban land policy and restructuring of the master planning model.

There is a dire need to address the issues of faulty urban land policy and urban planning models responsible for mushrooming of slums. Current land policies would need drastic changes to address the interests of the urban poor. The States need to re-look at the policies of making land and living space available to the masses in cities, especially the poor at a much faster rate than the pace of urban population growth.

Community mobilisation and participation in decision-making are also going to be an important element in RAY. RAY would also focus on enabling the urban poor to undertake housing construction and improvement programmes empowered by property right. RAY would also promote private sector participation and public private partnership for creation of affordable housing stock for the Low Income Groups. For all this, the poor will need to be enabled with access to housing and livelihoods finance.

RAY would focus on credit enablement of the slum-dwellers and urban poor who are constrained by a historic lack of availability of credit. We are working with the Finance Ministry on various credit enablement measures. These include- better targeting of the priority sector lending towards the EWS and LIG, Securing the capital against risk by a credit guarantee fund, Inducing the lending agencies into the EWS/LIG space by incentives and making long tenor funds available by appropriate classification of the mass affordable housing.

Up to 1980s, social housing for EWS/MIG category was taken up by the Housing Boards/Corporations in the States. However, during the 1990s, the housing sector was left to the private sector. Since then, the fiscal support to the housing was mainly targeted to the Middle Class. Due to this incentive structure, the private sector focus was never on the EWS & LIG housing. Since then, the gap between the rate of growth of urban population and that of EWS/LIG housing stock creation widened considerably. This resulted in mushrooming of slums in cities/towns across the country.

Now there is a need to do a serious rethink on the issue. I would take advantage of Hon’ble Finance Minister’s presence here. I would emphasise that the fiscal incentives need to be tuned to the changed scenario as EWS/ LIG housing has been totally left out of the current incentive structure. The financing pattern and credit enablement measures under RAY have been proposed taking these facts into consideration.

Finance Ministry has already given a nudge to the private sector by incentivising the slum development schemes by investment-linked deduction in this budget. This deduction needs to be extended to the existing scheme of the Ministry ‘Affordable Housing in Partnership’. We have taken up this issue with the Finance Ministry.

I would like to take this opportunity to impress upon the States to pay proper attention to the preparatory exercises for RAY.

Before concluding, I would like to quote from our Hon’ble Prime Minister’s address at the launch of JNNURM on 3rd December 2005:

“A major failure of city governance has been our inability to address the needs of the poor. Cities need people to provide services and our people need a decent place to live”.

Let us all rededicate ourselves to the causes of the common man in cities and work towards realizing the vision of Slum-free India. “

AD