Cabinet nod for implementation of PM Awaas Yojana - Gramin
The Union Cabinet gave its nod for the implementation of the rural housing scheme of Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana - Gramin. Under the scheme, financial assistance is provided for construction of "pucca" houses to all houseless and households living in dilapidated houses. An official press release said the expenditure involved in implementing the project in a span of 3 years from 2016-17 to 2018-19 is Rs. 81,975 crore. It is proposed that one crore households would be provided assistance for construction of pucca house under the project during the period from 2016-17 to 2018-19. The scheme would be implemented in rural areas throughout India except Delhi and Chandigarh. The cost of houses would be shared between Centre and States, it said.
The details are as follows:-
>> Implementing the rural housing scheme of Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana -Gramin.
>> Providing assistance for construction of 1.00 crore houses in rural areas over the period of 3 years from 2016-17 to 2018-19.
>> Enhancing the unit assistance to Rs. 1,20,000 in plain areas and to Rs. 1,30,000 in hilly states/difficult areas /IAP districts.
>> Meeting the additional financial requirement of Rs 21,975 crore by borrowing through National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to be amortised through budgetary allocations after 2022.
>> Using SECC-2011 data for identification of beneficiaries.
>> Setting up of National Technical Support Agency at national level to provide technical support in achieving the target set under the project.
Implementation strategy and targets:-
>> Identification of beneficiaries eligible for assistance and their prioritisation to be done using information from Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) ensuring total transparency and objectivity.
>> The list will be presented to Gram Sabha to identify beneficiaries who have been assisted before or who have become ineligible due to other reasons. The finalised list will be published.
>> The cost of unit assistance to be shared between Central and State Governments in the ratio 60:40 in plain areas and 90:10 for North Eastern and hilly states.
>> Annual list of beneficiaries will be identified from the total list through participatory process by the Gram Sabha. Gram Sabha will need to justify in writing with reasons for any alteration of priority in the original list.
>> Funds will be transferred electronically directly to the account of the beneficiary.
>> Inspection and uploading of geo referenced photographs will be done though a mobile app. Beneficiary will also be able to track the progress of his payments through the app.
>> The beneficiary is entitled to 90 days of unskilled labour from MGNREGA. This will be ensured through a server linkage between PMAY and MGNREGA.
>> Locally appropriate house designs, incorporating features to address the natural calamities common to the region will be made available to beneficiaries.
Lok Sabha clears Real Estate Bill as passed by Rajya Sabha
Lok Sabha approved the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2016. The bill seeks to create a set of rights and obligations for both the consumers and developers and encourage both of them to live up to the expectations of each other as per the agreement entered into by both of them. Moving the Bill pending in Lok Sabha after it got passed in Rajya Sabha on March 6, Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation M. Venkaiah Naidu clarified the position on the issues such as how the Bill will be applicable to existing projects; the Rules on setting aside 70% of customer advances in an escrow account; compulsory approvals prior to project launches, and payment of similar interest rate to customers as charged from them for delays will impact launches and increase compliance costs. The clarifications by the Minister on different issues are as below:
Requirement to deposit 70% of collections:
>> The account to be maintained by the promoter is a separate bank account and not an escrow account.
>> Also, the deposit of 70% is for both construction cost and land cost, and if the land cost has already been incurred the promoter can withdraw to that extent
>> Requirement to be met for such withdrawals is provided in the act.
>> This provision has only been provided to ensure that project funds are not diverted and projects are completed on time.
Ongoing Projects:
>> Upon passage of this Bill existing/ongoing projects would not come to a standstill, as is being made out by some respondents from the industry.
>> The Bill does not provide that the existing projects should stop all operations until complied with the provisions of the Bill.
>> The Bill only provides that upon the formation of the Regulatory Authorities all promoters of existing projects, coming within the ambit of the Bill, would need to register and provide and upload all project details on the website of the Authority.
>> A window of 3 months from the date of commencement of the said clause/section has been given to the promoters for registration.
>> The developers need to to specify the project details of such apartments so that prospective buyers will make informed choices, project status is known to all and to ensure that the projects are completed on time.
Imprisonment Provision:
>> Regarding the provision of imprisonment for any violations of the orders of the regulatory authorities or the Appellate Tribunal, it is certainly not a first option but only the last option.
>> There are many regulatory laws in the country with imprisonment provisions under which 3 to 10 years of imprisonment is provided for. Under Securities Act, Insurance Act and Pension Fund Act, 10 years of imprisonment is provided. Food security Act has 7 years provision while it is 5 years under Electricity Act and Reserve Bank of India Act.
>> There can't be a consumer without a developer and vice versa. Keeping in mind the importance of developers for mobilization of land and resources for housing projects, the last option of imprisonment has been kept at 3 years.
Ensuring timely approvals for housing projects
The act also provides under clause 32(b) for the Real Estate Regulatory Authority to take up with appropriate government of competent authority, the creation of a single window system for ensuring time bound project approvals and clearances for timely completion of projects. Naidu has said that with a target is to ensure that all required approvals are given in about a month's time, he held 7 high level meetings with the Ministers of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Civil Aviation, Defence, Consumer Affairs, and Culture for streamlining such approvals. All these ministries as a result have taken significant measures to ensure online and timely approvals. Single window approval system is being developed to standardize and settle timelines for approvals and use of IT & GIS for automation of such systems, setting up nodal agency & empowered committees, Naidu added.