Selja seeks amendment to town planning for slum-free India

Selja seeks amendment to town planning for slum-free India

In a letter written to all chief ministers, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister Kumari Selja has sought the amendment to town planning for reservation of land for affordable housing.

"You may kindly consider amending town planning, urban area development, municipal and other related laws to provide for reservation of land for affordable housing, basic amenities and informal sector activities of the poor," Selja stated in her letter.

Stressing the need for a complete database on existing slums, she has sought proper surveys of all slums in cities and towns within three months and develop an authentic database on the prevailing field conditions.

"The legal framework may also cover innovative land assembly techniques including land pooling, use of Floor Space Index as a resource, incentive zoning and other measures to promote affordable housing to the urban poor," the letter stated.

Referring to the Presidential address on June 4 in which the Rajiv Awas Yojana for the slum dwellers and the urban poor was prominently mentioned, Selja said her ministry was currently in the process of formulating the parameters of the scheme.

Enlisting the steps being considered by the ministry, Selja said development of a database on slums, visioning slum-free cities and states, creating a legal framework to accord property rights to slum dwellers and urban poor were some of the key elements of the action plan.

The minister said the earlier master plans had led to exclusion of the poor from city development process and driven them to precarious and illegal settlements.

"There is a need to develop an urban land policy and a legal framework for according security of tenure and property right to the slum dwellers and urban poor," she said in the letter.

She urged the state governments to launch an "Inclusive and Equitable Cities Campaign" involving all stakeholders to alter the existing city planning model, prepare and implement "inclusive" Master Plans and ensure that the concerns of the urban poor, especially slum-dwellers are adequately addressed.

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