Andhra Pradesh

Singapore housing model leveller of income disparities

A typical Punggol housing project in Singapore

A typical Punggol housing project in Singapore   | Photo Credit: HAND_OUT

The much-touted Singapore urban housing model being eyed by Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has got a mixed reaction on home turf. But the urban model of Punggol proved to be a great leveller of income disparities in the greater part of society in Singapore according to experts.

Mr. Naidu is looking at replicating this model in the proposed capital city and several parts of the State which consists of apartment structures housing thousands of flats. Unlike in India, these sustainable green buildings meant for low income groups are located in the up market area and are heavily subsidised by the government before allotment on priority basis.

Speaking to The Hindu at an urban housing facility in Singapore, Senior Minister of State for Home and Foreign Affairs Masagos Zulkilfi said, “We take the total income of the family, first and second ownership of home status into consideration for allotment. Single room studio, two and three bedroom are the typical flats allotted for families whose annual income ranges from as low as SGD 2,000 (Rs. 1,00,000)  to SGD 10,000 (Rs. 5,00,000). The flats can be sold for premium post five-year lock-in period.” The apartment complexes will have a combination of all economic and social groups according to him.

Given the easy payment model that facilitates automatic deduction from a part provident fund contribution, these houses bring about windfall profit or remain as a valuable asset to the beneficiary families.

Over 80 per cent population in Singapore live in public housing, the rest is private whose cost runs into multimillion dollars. Besides income, government allotments are based on other criteria such as proportional representation of diverse racial and cultural groups living in Singapore, according to the State Minister of Home.

Challenges for Naidu

The Punggol idea may be an ideal one but given the existing limitations in India, executing the task could be a major challenge for Mr. Naidu according to R. Theyvendran, Chairman of the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The likely challenges are fixing and paying compensation, identification of beneficiaries, livelihood of small farmers, subsidy for flats, plugging leakages etc.

However, a confident Mr. Naidu said in Singapore that there was a foolproof plan in the making. “I am determined to initiate innovative systems. It will be done. We will set an example for the country,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 9:33:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/singapore-housing-model-leveller-of-income-disparities/article6605384.ece

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