New Delhi, Oct 28 (PTI) As part of government's efforts to enhance ease of doing business, the Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) ministry is working with other ministries to create a mechanism for fast tracking approvals to housing projects, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said here today.
Speaking at a workshop on 'Model State Urban Affordable Housing and Habitat Policy', Naidu said that the HUPA is engaging with ministries like Environment and forests, Urban development, Defence, Civil Aviation etc., for fast tracking of NOCs to housing projects and a key meeting is slated tomorrow.
"Tomorrow I am holding a panel meeting where the Cabinet Secretary has agreed to come, because we want to clinch the issue of single window approvals," Naidu, who is also the Urban Development minister said.
The HUPA minister added though single window is not easy but process of approvals should be made easier and transparent.
He said this is one area where construction sector is agitated, and they complain that they have to wait for up to 18 months just to get permissions. "This is not acceptable."
Naidu also spoke on the need to provide affordable homes and said that he felt that 'Housing for All' is one of the most important schemes of the present government.
He said the private sector should also play a key role in providing affordable housing and termed Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects as need of the hour. HUPA ministry has constituted a committee to draft model documents for undertaking affordable housing on a PPP basis, he said.
He said availability of land is the main challenge in the quest to provide housing for all.
Taking a dig at political opponents, the minister said some people, who think everything can be done without land, should give ideas on how houses, railways, electrical lines etc can be built without land.
Speaking about the government's initiatives, Naidu said that today about 30 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) have launched facebook pages related to their smart city plans while around 85 have their own websites.
ULBs are also seeking ideas from citizens for smart city plans.He said that this new approach is a leap forward as ULBs were often associated with a non responsive, isolated kind of governance in the past
Naidu said that HUPA is also working on a National Rental Housing Policy (2015), for promoting rental housing. The policy, he said, has been shared with the stakeholders for comments recently.
He said the Parliament's nod will be sought for the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, which besides bringing accountability and transparency in the sector also aims to protect consumer interest, and speedy mechanism for adjudication of disputes.
Speaking about a Model State Affordable Housing Policy, Naidu said that such a policy, while outlining housing interventions in general should be focused on creation of affordable housing stock.
While emphasising that needs of poor should be kept in mind, the minister said that there cannot be a one size fits all policy and state policies should be unique and represent their culture and distinctiveness.
He said that the the Model State Policy of the Ministry, which is going to be outlined needs to be appropriately adapted to the requirements of the State.
Naidu also stressed that proper infrastructure like roads, water and electricity connectivity should also be provided for all projects.
The minister said policy interventions are needed in areas like land use regulations, inadequate infrastructure, insufficient finance for construction and rent control laws so that housing can be made affordable.