Now, law to enforce Affordable Housing Policy

The State government is contemplating bringing in a comprehensive legislation to give effect to its Affordable Housing Policy, 2013, which envisages that private developers earmark 40 per cent land of their projects for the economically weaker section and lower income groups.

The government was forced to consider the legislation route after the Housing Department’s efforts to rope in other line departments to send their views on the policy did not get a response.

Urban poor with an annual household income of up to Rs one lakh are classified under the EWS and those whose income falls between Rs one and Rs two lakh per annum are categorised as belonging to the LIGs.

Four types

The housing policy was notified in October 2013. While making it mandatory for builders to construct dwellings for the EWS and the LIGs, the policy gives four types of incentives and concessions for builders to take up affordable housing projects.

The incentives range from financial concessions like waiver of conversion charges and development fees, reduction of stamp duty for registration of property, provision of additional Floor Area Ratio to non-financial incentives like providing No Objection Certificates (NOCs) from various agencies in a time-bound framework.

For instance, the policy envisages that building plan will be sanctioned within 60 days. Similarly, the consent of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (PCB) for affordable housing projects will be provided within 45 days. In all, 18 services related to the housing sector will be brought under the Sakala scheme.

The implementation of the concession is, however, subject to authorisation of various departments such as revenue, stamps and registration, urban development, among others.

Soon after the policy was notified, the Housing Department appointed the Karnataka Housing Board (KHB) as the nodal agency for co-ordinating with the departments. But almost 10 months down the line, nothing much seems to have moved forward.

Various models

Sources in the Housing Department said that the option before the government was to go in for legislation to implement the policy. Such a law is already in place in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat, and the department is looking at various models for implementation in the State.

There has also been an internal discussion in the department whether earmarking 40 per cent of land for the poor was economically viable for the builders and whether it should be reduced. No final decision has been taken yet, the sources added.

Several builders had approached the department wondering about the “credit worthiness” of the allottees coming under EWS and LIGs — whether banks would provide them loans.
The sources assured that all aspects would be taken into consideration before the legislation was finalised.

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