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Housing for all by 2020: Venkaiah Naidu

Creation of 100 smart cities and reducing interest rate on home loans to ensure housing for all will be the focus of the new Urban Development and Housing and Poverty Alleviation Minister (HUPA) Venkaiah Naidu said.

The Urban Development Ministry will also give priority to linking of twin cities and infrastructure development of satellite towns and cleaning of religious cities across the country.

“Housing is a priority area and it is my passion. My priority will be to ensure housing for all by 2020 and to reduce interest rate on home loans,” Mr. Naidu said in New Delhi on Wednesday after assuming charge of Urban Development and Housing and Poverty Alleviation ministries.

He said that during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime, interest rate was brought down from 11 per cent to 7 per cent. Now it has gone beyond 10 per cent.

Terming “affordable housing for all by 2020” scheme as his “most favourable agenda”, Mr. Naidu said, “People of the country should be in a position to have ‘pucca’ houses for each one of them. It is not an easy job. But it is possible. We have to make serious efforts for it.

Seeking cooperation from corporates, he said, “I want PPP, CSR and corporates to take care of their staff in housing. We want state governments to participate in it. Municipal bodies also should join us in this mission for housing for all.

“I also want PSUs like LIC, banks, railways, even Defence to not only take care of their serving persons but also their ex-staff also.”

He said he would be taking up the issue with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley soon.

With NDA assuming power the JNNURM, one of the flagship programmes of UPA government, is coming to an end and there will be a new programme to develop infrastructure in cities, he said.

“JNNURM is coming to an end. The new phase for improving our cities will be launched soon. We will launch a new mission in place of JNNURM. The new mission will focus on modern concept for cities based on GIS-based planning and will have solid and liquid waste management to develop clean cities,” Mr. Naidu said.

He said the government’s priority is urban upliftment and providing quality public transport.

Describing the concept of smart cities, he said, “Our PM has a vision and we will give top priority to 100 smart new cities. Smart, safe and better environment, better facilities better connectivity and better living condition for people. That is the concept we are finalising.”

Currently, 43 per percent of the urban population is based in metro cities. “Urban population is more than the rural growth. People are migrating to cities,” he said.

He said wherever possible twin cities will be linked like Hyderabad and Secunderabad. “We can also link Vijayawada and Guntur in Andhra Pradesh.”

Noting that there are 377 million people staying in urban areas which is 32 per cent of total population, he said during the time of Independence, population in urban areas was 17 per cent which has now gone up to 32 per cent.

Number of towns have also increased from 5160 in 2001 to 7935 in 2011.

“We also want to develop infrastructure in satellite towns. It will not help just constructing houses in satellites towns. There should be good schools, medical facilities, transportation facilities,” he said.

There is also growth in class I cities in the country as it has increased from 394 in 2001 to 468 in 2011.

According to an estimate by 2050, almost 50 per cent of population will be in urban areas and it is a challenging task.

Mr. Naidu also said that cleaning up all religious cities will be taken up earnestly to boost pilgrim tourism.

“It will encourage tourism. Cleanliness and sanitation exercise can be taken up in cities like Ajmer, Amritsar and other areas like churches in Goa and Kerala and thousands of temples in the country. Cleanliness is the need of the hour.”

Mr. Naidu said efforts will be made to improve transportation with rapid transportation system, Metro and tram service wherever possible. “Tram services will be implemented in cities which are expanding fast,” he said.

He said Metro will be expanded in NCR states and it will be taken up with with Rajasthan, Haryana and UP government.

The new minister said HUPA will also focus on skill development.

“Last year the Finance Minister had allocated Rs 1000 cr for it. Gujarat has been spending Rs 800 cr on skill development. One state is spending Rs 800 crore and government of India is allocating Rs 1000 cr for it. It is one of the tools to eradicate poverty. Skilled training will be implemented in cellphone repair, TV, AC and freeze and modern tailoring method,” he said.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 9:53:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/housing-for-all-by-2020-venkaiah-naidu/article6056868.ece

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