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Cabinet nod for affordable rental housing complexes to accommodate urban poor

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New Delhi, July 08: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved development of Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC) for urban migrants and poor that will make housing available at affordable rent close to the place of work, the government said.

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As part of ARHC, existing vacant government-funded housing complexes will be converted into Affordable Rental Housing Complexes through "concession agreements" for 25 years, an official statement said.

Affordable Rental Housing Complexes is a sub-scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban.

The concessionaire will make the complexes livable by repair or retrofit and maintenance of rooms and filling up infrastructure gaps such as water, sewer, sanitation, road and related work.

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    An expenditure of Rs 600 crore is estimated in the form of "technology innovation grant", an official spokesperson said on Twitter after the Cabinet meeting.

    States and union territories will select concessionaire through transparent bidding. Complexes will revert to the urban local bodies after 25 years to restart the next cycle like earlier, or run on their own, the statement said.

    Special incentives such as use permission, 50 per cent additional floor area ratio or floor space index, concessional loan at priority sector lending rate and tax relief at par with affordable housing will be offered to private and public entities to develop ARHCs on their own available vacant land for 25 years, it said.

    Announced by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on May 14 this year, the scheme seeks to fulfil the vision of ''Aatma Nirbhar Bharat'', the statement observed.

    Referring to the benefits of the scheme, it said government-funded vacant housing stock will be converted into ARHCs for economically productive use.

    "The scheme (AHRC) would create a conducive environment for entities to develop AHRCs on their own vacant land, which will enable new investment opportunities and promote entrepreneurship in rental housing sector," it explained.

    Official sources said more than 3.5 lakh people will benefit under ARHCs.

    ARHCs will create a new ecosystem in urban areas making housing available at affordable rent close to the place of work and will cut down unnecessary travel, congestion and pollution, they said.

    "They (workers and urban poor) spend a lot of time on roads by walking or cycling to workplaces, risking their lives to cut on the expenses," the statement added.

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