New Delhi, July 4 :
The central and state governments Thursday unanimously agreed to work together to provide housing for all by the year 2022.
They also adopted a three page “National Declaration on Urban Governance and Housing For All” recognizing “housing as a part of the dignity and indicator of quality of life of the individual” after a day-long deliberations by ministers of housing and urban development from states and union territories here, an official release said.
Acknowledging the central government’s aspiration to provide housing for all by the 75th year of Independence in 2022, the declaration lays special emphasis on housing for economically weaker sections (EWS) and low income groups (LIG) and other vulnerable sections such as slum dwellers.
As part of the declaration, the central government has committed itself to rationalize approval processes and fund flows to states and union territories, while states will make all efforts to encourage and involve all stakeholders for affordable housing and will complete ongoing works in this regard.
They will also make efforts to encourage EWS/LIG housing by liberal floor area ratios, transferable development rights and the concept of deemed building permissions.
States will also take up amendment of rental laws to balance interests of owners and tenants with the goal of encouraging rental housing in urban areas. They will also make efforts to implement single window scheme for approval of lay-out and building permissions. Special focus will be laid on skill development to eliminate urban poverty.
States will ensure peoples’ participation in governance, maintenance of public amenities, transparency in system and accountability for proper growth of cities and towns. They also pledged to provide basic amenities like better roads, transport, sanitation and drinking water.
The states resolved to actively consider implementing the reforms suggested by union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu as part of 25 point charter earlier as in the day.
In his speech, Naidu said that the government is examining proposals for channelising tax revenues, interest subvention and public-private partnership to meet the housing shortage of 300 lakh houses in urban areas.
He called for “out of box” thinking and solutions to address emerging challenges of urbanisation in the country.
The charter of urban planning suggested by Naidu had includes suggestions like making towns and cities slum free; exploiting potential of cities with respect to tourism, health, education, business; inclusive zoning providing for old age homes; and construction of orphanages and night shelters.
He said the government would soon firm up the way forward on development of 100 “smart cities”, noting the considerable interest in this scheme from various developed countries.