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Modi government to pay rent for urban poor

  • Editor
  • March 9, 2017
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The government is all set to launch a new rental housing policy in 100 smart cities. The policy has been in works for the last 3 years but is likely to see the light of the day soon. The first component of that plan may well be rolled out in the next fiscal year.

The government would launch the new rental housing policy with the rent vouchers for below poverty line (BPL) families. Though the policy has been in the works for three years, the first component is likely to be rolled out in 2017-18 financial year in the smart cities. The scheme is expected to cost Rs 2,713 crore every year to implement in smart cities. Aimed directly at the urban poor and helping the migrant population, the scheme would involve distribution of rent vouchers by urban local bodies.

These bodies would also determine value of the rent vouchers on the basis of class or size of the household, along with the rent prevalent in that city. The rent voucher would be given by the tenant to the landowner, who in turn would redeem it at any citizen service bureau but in case the rent is more than the voucher then the tenant would bear the cost and pay the cash to the landowner.

A senior official of housing and urban poverty alleviation ministry told, “The rental voucher scheme is being looked at as a means to complement the Prime Minister Housing for All scheme”.

“The recent implementation of the Benami Properties Act and rules open up another option for rental housing. An enabling provision would be inserted in the rules that houses confiscated by Central government which cannot be auctioned, could be let out by the Central government or through state governments as rental housing for the middle-income group (MIG), LIG and economically weaker section (EWS) depending on the suitability and location of such properties,” the official said.

The ministry would now prepare a Cabinet note to push the rental voucher scheme. The move comes close to a recommendation by a group of secretaries on health, sanitation and urban development formed by Prime Minister Modi.


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