Housing for a crisis

Down To Earth|July 01, 2020

Housing for a crisis
THE LOCKDOWN HAS MADE US REASSESS THE LIVABILITY OF STRUCTURES BUILT UNDER GOVERNMENT HOUSING SCHEMES
MITASHI SINGH AND RAJNEESH SAREEN

IN PUSHING us indoors, the COVID-19 lockdown has made us take note of our habitat, the safety and comfort it provides, and the impact it has on our health. The exodus of workers during the lockdown was a good reminder of the clamour for homes in our cities. State governments, like in Delhi and Odisha, had to request landlords to waive off or defer rent.

The situation showed that there was a need of not just state-run housing schemes but also of more affordable rental housing schemes, which our policies and schemes were perhaps not capturing. The Pradhan Mantri Awas YojanaUrban ( PMAY-U), which was launched in 2015 to provide houses to all by 2022, does not focus on rental housing. It is only after witnessing the distress of labourers and their sheer numbers in the cities, that the Centre decided to include affordable rental houses under PMAY-U. So far, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority has started building around 0.25 million rental housing units under public-private partnership model, but such examples are few and far between.

Rental housing is generally not lucrative to the private sector as it requires innovative financing mechanisms or a strong push from the government in terms of incentives to pull market interest. In 2015, the draft National Urban Rental Housing Policy (NURHP) was released to address this challenge. It suggests various models to improve the segment’s economic feasibility, like the rent-to-own scheme, under which the beneficiary gets a housing unit on lease for a fixed duration. The beneficiary pays a monthly instalment that contains a certain percentage of rent and the rest as thrift. When the amount paid reaches a certain percentage (around 10 per cent or as decided) of the total unit price, the house is registered in the beneficiary’s name. Full ownership is on 100 per cent payment. The benefit of this scheme is that the tenants feel secure because the landlord is the government and there is no obligation to buy the unit

Chandigarh has implemented a rent-to-own scheme and Andhra Pradesh is attempting to promote one. Another good practice is in Odisha, where the government has built dormitories for migrant workers using funds collected as labour cess. COVID-19 has brought to surface the need to shift from static policies and cater to the evolving and dynamic demands. While the detailed guidelines are yet to come, the Centre’s decision on PMAY-U has come right in time.

HEALTH FACTOR IGNORED

articleRead

You can read up to 3 premium stories before you subscribe to Magzter GOLD

Log in, if you are already a subscriber

GoldLogo

Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium stories and 5,000+ magazines

READ THE ENTIRE ISSUE

July 01, 2020