'Jaitley sops for small homes will help redevelopment of city slums'

'Jaitley sops for small homes will help redevelopment of city slums'

Finance Minister Arun Jaitely’s proposal to give 100 per cent tax deduction for companies building houses up to 30 sq metres in the four metros is a welcome step to invite private builders to redevelop slums, said Delhi government officials and urban planners after the Union Budget presentation.

The retention of duty relief in the Budget for environment-friendly electric vehicles is also good new for a city fighting a battle to clean its poisonous air by promoting green wheels.

There are 675 slums in Delhi which are home to over 1.5 million people and the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s proposal is likely to encourage a larger role for private developers in vertical growth of plots where shanties exist.

Since 1994, 220 slums in Delhi have been relocated to new spots and the residents given alternative flats based on their entitlements linked to number of years spent in the city.

Rohit Matai, an urban planner and architect, said: “Incorporating slum clusters into planned urban development is a challenge for Delhi.”

“Offering a respectable home to slum dwellers by 2019 is an ambitious proposal,” said Matai, referring to Jaitely’s plan to offer incentives for developers who build low-end 30 sq-metre homes and deliver the flats between June 2016 and March 2019.

Some 51 per cent of the slums in the city are on DDA land, about 10 percent each are on land owned by the Delhi government, Railways and civic agencies and others, said an official of the city’s Urban Development Department.

A Delhi government official said: “The details of the scheme are not clear yet but it holds out hope for faster slum redevelopment.”

Apart from giving incentives for affordable housing, the capital is likely to gain from the Rs 9,000 crore sanctioned for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

During his Budget speech, Jaitely said: “We have introduced ranking of urban areas in sanitation which has resulted in constructive competition among towns and cities.  He said Rs 9,000 crore had been provided for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.”

Cleanliness contest
The New Delhi Municipal Council area, a participant in the cleanliness contest, figured in the top three cleanest cities in the country. The civic agency is upgrading public toilets and installing modern bins under the Swachh Bharat Scheme.

Jaitely’s sops for the retailers may also benefit businessmen in Delhi and the city government to generate more revenue. A VAT department said: “No weekly off for markets would mean more business volume and tax generation.”

The Finance Minister in his speech proposed a new model Shops and Establishment Act that would give shopkeepers the option of opening their business without a weekly off.

Jaitley has also proposed scheme for helping job seekers get employment with ease as state employment exchanges would be linked with the national platform. The city labour department’s officials, however, said they were not aware of the details and not in a position to react.

Another Budget proposal to make operational 100 model career centres across the country by the end of 2016-17 may help Delhi youths if at least one of these comes up in the city.

Delhi educational institutions may also benefit if they figure in the proposed plan to offer online courses on Entrepreneurship Education and Training at 2,200 colleges, 300 schools, 500 government Industrial training Institutes and 50 vocational training centres.
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