High-level task force formed to expedite work on housing

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New Delhi, Jan 28 (UNI) The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation has set up a high-level task force to help it expedite implementation of its policy of affordable housing for all.

The Task force headed by Chairman HDFC Deepak Parekh, will look into various aspects of the housing problem in urban areas with special focus on weaker sections and suggest measures for realising the goal of affordable housing as envisioned in the National Housing and Habitat Policy, the Minister Selja told newspersons here.

She said she had written to Chief Ministers to expedite the matter as it is the state governments that have to implement the policy.

The policy cleared by the Union Cabinet recently, seeks to promote various types of public-private partnerships for realising to meet the shortage of 2.47 crore houses.

The focus of the Policy is on affordable urban housing with special emphasis on the urban poor. Role of Housing and provision of basic services to the urban poor has been integrated into the objectives of the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

Ms Selja said that the task force, which consisted of very eminent people in their fields, had been given a time frame of four months to give its report.

The terms of reference of the task force include developing innovative financial instruments for bringing flexibiliy in the housing market, find ways and meas of enhancing accessibility of economically weaker sections and low income group to housing with suitable government support, examining the framework of regional planning and master planning with a view to enhancing the supply of developed land.

Besides, the Task Force has also been asked to suggest measures to increase availability of houses on rent, and examining various fiscal and legislative measures for increasing supply of houses to the weaker sections and low income groups, Ms Selja said.

Along with Mr Deepak Parekh, other members are Nasser Munjee (Non-Executive chairman of the Credit Development Bank), Anita Reddy (Executive Trustee of Association of Voluntary Action and Services (AVAS), Renan Jhbavala (Chairperosn of Sewa Bank), Rajiv Singh, (Vice-Chairman of DLF Group), Om Prakash Mathur(National Institute of Pulic Finanace and Policy), P K Pradhan, Principal secretray Urban Development- Govt of West Bengal, S R Rao( Principal secertary, Urban development, Govt of Gujarat), Prof Utpal Sharma (Dean, Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology), Prof Amitabh Kundu (JNU) and Anand Bhatt( Solicitor, M/S Wadia Gandhy&CO).

Replying to a question, Ms Selja said that states would make their own housing policy as per the action plan.

She said her Ministry was also giving a new thrust to the Integrated Low Cost Sanitation Scheme (ILCS) which ws aimed at eliminating the dehumanizing practice of carrying night soil.

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