Housing Sector Reforms
Creation of Awas Bandhu
"Awas Bandhu" was created in 1997 as an apex institution under the Housing Department to oversee the performance of housing sector and coordinate the activities of housing agencies viz. Development Authorities and the Housing and Development Board. Awas Bandhu is a society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
1.1 Objectives of Awas Bandhu
- to strengthen the role of Development Authorities and Housing and Development Board as 'facilitators'
- to encourage private investment in housing and development
- to provide timely solution to problems pertaining to housing and planned development,
- to obviate difficulities in the execution and implementation of schemes.
1.2 Functions of Awas Bandhu
- Awas Bandhu is functioning as a 'Think Tank' for the Housing Department. Its major functions comprise:
- Providing innovative solutions to the problems and challenges of housing sector
- Monitoring and evaluation of physical and financial performance of Development Authorities and the Housing and Development Board
- Simplification and standardisation of procedures,
- System improvement and Management of Information System
- Addressal of public grievances
- Housing Policy research, collection, analysis , publication and dissemination of information on housing sector reforms.
2. Reforms and Policy Initiatives
2.1 Simplification of Building Permit Procedure
- Requirement for obtaining building permit on plots up to 100 sq. m. area in the old built-up areas of cities has been abolished
- No formal approval of Development Authority/ Housing and Development Board is required on building plans for 100-300 sq. m. of plots, provided the proposed building plan is in accordance with the provisions of the Master Plan/Building Bye-laws, and is certified by a Registered Architect as such.
- Unitary residential plans above 300 sq. m. of plot area deemed to be approved if not disposed within a period of 30 days from the submission of the plan
- Group Housing and Commercial building plans deemed to be approved if not disposed within a period of 90 days from the submission of the plan
- It has been made compulsory for the Development Authorities to issue a calculation-memo to the applicant in respect of various development and other charges payable at the time of obtaining building/development permit
- Validity of building permit has been increased from three years to five years
2.2 Rationalisation of Various Charges
Various charges payable at the time of obtaining building permit viz., Supervision charge, Stalking charge and Strengthening charge which hitherto were realised as per individual norms of development authorities, have been rationalised to provide relief to the consumer.
2.3 Simplification of Compounding Procedure
Compounding of additions, alterations and internal changes carried out at the time of construction, has been simplified. The builder/owner may submit an amended plan through a Registered Architect indicating the compoundable additions/alterations after depositing the self-assessed compounding fee in the designated head/account of the development authority.
2.4 Simplified Model Building Code
Development Authorities have been following different set of building regulations adopted from R.B.O. Act, 1958, National Building Code and the bye-laws framed by individual authorities. The Housing Department for the first time prepared a simplified Model Building Code for Development Authorities known as Building and Development Bye-laws, 1999". The new Building Code prescribes uniform procedure for obtaining development and building permits and incorporates all simplifications/ amendments effected through GOs from time to time. Planning norms and standards, however, being suggestive, are to be adopted by different authorities keeping in view their local requirements. The new code is in the process of adoption/enforcement.
2.5 Purchasable Development Rights
The Government of U.P. have framed a policy to increase FAR in the growing urban areas so as to reduce the increasing pressure of urbanisation on agricultural land. The policy is centred around the notion that higher FAR would lead to higher densities with consequential pressure on existing infrastructure, it is obligatory for the development authority to strengthen/augment the infrastructure commensurate with demand. Therefore, to raise financial resources for strengthening /augmenting infrastructure , the FAR in excess of the basic FAR provided in the Master Plan/Zonal Development Plan/Building Bye-Laws has been made purchasable w. e. f. March 9, 1999. The underlying objective of Purchasable Development Rights is that every urban location has an optimum FAR and it is the market forces that bring the true FAR potential of a given site. Such a policy would lead to the most beneficial (economically) density policy for a city as a whole. Thus, a flexible or free-market FAR with certain restrictions warranted by accessibility, building height and fire-fighting requirements is permissible on advance payment of proportionate land premium.
2.6 Compensatory Floor Area Ratio (F.A.R.)
Compensatory FAR is permissible to such owners whose land / plot is affected by road widening or community facilities, provided such affected land is transferred free of cost by the owner to the concerned development authority. The mechanism of Compensatory FAR will prove helpful in removing many traffic bottlenecks in the congested areas of cities.
2.7 Voluntary Compounding Scheme
Housing Department launched voluntary compounding scheme in October 1998 by offering one-time opportunity for regularisation of compoundable offences on a self-assessment basis. The simplified procedure for self-assessment, submission of application forms, and time-bound disposal of the applications has provided relief from harassment as well as redemption from litigations. Around 18,000 applications have been received against which a sum of Rs.32 crore has been deposited in various development authorities. Out of the total income received under this scheme, 50% shall be credited to the Infrastructure Development Fund.
2.8 Infrastructure Development Fund
Infrastructure Development Fund has been created in all development authorities and the Housing and Development Board. A fixed percentage of income from certain identified sources is being regularly credited to this fund to ensure contribution of these authorities towards development of infrastructure such as roads, drainage, sewerage, water supply and development of parks etc.
2.9 Encouragement to Cooperative Sector
To encourage the participation of Cooperative Sector in housing, the Govt. have delegated the powers of issuing development permit to U.P. Cooperative Housing Federation in respect of lay-out plans submitted by cooperative housing societies in 12 major cities of the State. The Federation has also been assigned with the responsibility of ensuring development works in the schemes of cooperative housing societies.
2.10 Performance Rating of Development Authorities
Awas Bandhu has evolved a ranking system to evaluate monthly physical and financial performance of development authorities and the Housing and Development Board. This excercise is not only leading to improved financial performance but also creating competitiveness among various authorities to improve their overall performance.
2.11 One-Time Settlement Scheme (OTS)
Housing Dept has launched One-Time Settlement Scheme for the benefit of such allottees/buyers of development authorities and Housing and Development Board who are in arrears or have defaulted in repayment of loans/instalments. The scheme lays uniform procedure for calculation of arrears, submission of applications, payment of arrears and final settlement. The implementation of the scheme is in progress at present.
2.12 Right to Information
The State Govt. have recently issued directions to ensure transparency in the functioning of the development authorities. As per the directions, if any applicant/allottee makes a request to see a record on file or obtain a copy thereof in connection with his case, the authority shall make appropriate arrangement/set up a special counter where the applicant/ allottee may see such record or obtain a copy of the same after paying the requisite fee. The Vice Chairman, however, may refuse to show such record or make available a copy of the same by informing the applicant in writing and giving reasons thereof.