Indian Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to provide ten million homes with Smart City features by December 2018

In an official press release stated that the Minister of the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, Mr Hardeep Singh Puri said that the Ministry is expected to deliver 10 million homes under Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi’s Housing Scheme (Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awaas Yojana – PMAY) by December 2018; the Ministry already sanctions around 300,000 to 500,000 homes every month.

The Prime Minister’s Housing Scheme (Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awaas Yojana – PMAY) or the Housing for All Scheme is an initiative that aims to provide affordable housing for the Economical Weaker Section (EWS), the Lower Income Groups (LIG) and the Middle Income Groups (MIG) in India. The project’s target is to build 20 million affordable houses by 31 March 2022.  Mr Hardeep Singh noted that the project is well funded and that all one needs is a bankable project.

At an Interactive Session on Sustainable Development Goals, on 25 June, Mr Hardeep Singh Puri said that the Ministry had approved 318,000 homes consequently bringing up the total number of sanctioned houses about to 5 million houses so far. The meeting was organised by the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) and Forum Indian Development Cooperation. Prof Sachin Chaturvedi, Director General, Ravichandran Natarajan, Head of Partnerships & Corporate Relations, and Ms Radhika Kaul Batra, Chief of Staff, UN Resident Coordinators’ Office, were among other officials present at the session.

The houses come with a number of digital features that are a part of Smart City initiative. The Smart City Mission was launched in June 2015 and is designed to use technology to improve quality of life, create job opportunities and increase the efficiency of local institutions, public services, and the general management of city infrastructure. Nine Integrated Command & Control Centres are already operational in the country, in the cities of Ahmedabad, Kakinada, Visakhapatnam, Nagpur, Pune, Rajkot, Surat, Vadodara and Bhopal.

On 11 June, the Ministry stated that about 1,350 projects worth IN ₹50,000 crore (approximately US $7.3 billion) had been tendered in the Smart City Mission initiative, of which work had begun or finished in 950 projects costing IN ₹30,675 crore (approximately US $4.5 billion). The Ministry has invited tenders for another 400 projects with an outlay of about IN ₹20,000 crore (approximately US $2.9 billion).

The Smart City features include safe transportation, lower environmental impact and waste-to-energy and waste-to-compost; it also offers complete non-discriminatory access for women, children and senior citizens to services that go beyond building houses. The Ministry mentioned that because of the use of technology by the Smart City Surat in Gujrat, crime rates have dropped by over 20%.

In the latest monetary policy, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said it plans to better align the Priority Sector Lending (PSL) guidelines for housing loans with the Affordable Housing Scheme and to support the low-cost housing for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS)  and Lower Income Groups (LIG). It has changed the housing loan limits for PSL eligibility from the existing IN ₹28 lakh (around US $40,653) to IN ₹35 lakh (around US $50,820) in metropolitan centres (with a population of 1 million and above), and from the current IN 20 lakh (US $29,050) to IN ₹25 lakh (around US $36,312) in other centres, provided the total outlay of the unit in metropolitan centres and at other centres does not exceed IN ₹45 lakh (US $65,385) and IN ₹30 lakh (US $43,590) respectively.

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