(GIST OF YOJANA) LAND ACQUISITION, REHABILITATION AND RESETTLEMENT -November-2017


(GIST OF YOJANA)  LAND ACQUISITION, REHABILITATION AND RESETTLEMENT  -November-2017


LAND ACQUISITION, REHABILITATION AND RESETTLEMENT

The linkages between land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) and Housing for all (HFA) assume significance primarily in the context of scarcity of land for planned
development and the overwhelming shortage of adequate, affordable housing in India.

According to last official estimates, India has a shortage of nearly 19 million housing units in urban areas (Kundu Committee, 2012). In response, the Government of India’s Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) aims at building 20 million new units by 2022. At the same time, about 56 percent of rural India or a staggering number of over 10 crore rural households is landless.

How should we access the considerable policy attention now directed at affordable housing in urban areas? There parameters stand out for scrutiny. The first two-Adequacy and Affordability – have entered the policy discourse with discussions on how “low-income” households should be defined, what the size and cost of an affordable house is, and what services and materials define adequacy. A third, however, has remained unaddressed or has received scant policy attention. This crucial parameter – ‘Viability’ – relates to the location of affordable housing. Viability can be understood as the ability to meaningfully make life in housing created or enabled by policy action. ‘Viability’ thus exceeds just the policy attention to costs or benefits.

If LARR is just used as cynical measure to relocate low income urban populations to peripheral areas transitioning from rural to urban, it wouldmean that a large question of how to ensure higher occupancy rates or ensure planned rural, urban and Rurban development would remain unaddressed. The LARR Act does include in its definition of ‘public purpose’, acquisition for the following purposes:
(a) Project for housing for such income groups as may be specified from time to time by the appropriate government [S. 2(1) (d)]
(b) Project for planned development or improvement of village sites for any site in urban areas or provision of land for residential purposes for the weaker sections in rural and urban areas. [S. 2(1) (e)]
(c) Project for residential purpose for the poor or landless or for persons residing in areas affected by natural calamities or for persons displaced or affected by reason of implementation of any Scheme by Government etc. [S. 2(1) (f)]

If the government proceeds with the alternative route of land pooling (i.e. not Eminent Domain type land acquisition), it is necessary to ensure that the redeveloped plot of land has adequate provisioning for EWS/LIG/affordable housing, with infrastructural amenities and employment opportunities. Two challenges are thus before us. One, we should be pragmatic
about the difficulty in using LARR and instruments of land assembly for affordable rural and urban housing till now and thereby highlight the need to create housing policies that accounts for this gap. Two, it is necessary to challenges this historical reluctance to use LARR’s provision for affordable housing.

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If LARR and land assembly have not been historically well used to find land for affordable housing, then the locations of built units will remain peripheral, in the geographical sense. Such locations return us to the viability challenge that we outlined above, and underline the poor occupancy rates of built housing form previous housing policies.Many states have sought to compensate for this shortcoming by widening their own state housing policies with different and more diverse approaches. Numerous examples from various states provide illustrations of how the goal of ensuring affordable and adequate housing for all could be realized. For example, Karnataka’s Affordable Housing Policy of 2016 provides for seven models: (a) beneficiary led house enhancement; (b) beneficiary led house enhancement; (c) in situ up gradation; (d) in situ redevelopment; (e) plotted development and sites with house and services; (f) group housing and township project s and (g) affordable group housing in partnership. Of these seven, PMAY benefits could pertain only to (d), (f) and (g) of the above. The use of the LARR Act for affordable housing purposes needs to be understood from this overall context. While R & R provision in the LARR Act attempt to ensure adequate rehabilitation for
displaced rural families, a more concerted affordable housing policy would attempt to go beyond providing R&R for displaced families to accommodating those from urban areas who are in need of affordable and adequate housing.

LARR is one part of a much larger strategy of how to ensure that affordable housing for all is implemented across the country Locational issues predominate in goals to improve occupancy rates of new units, especially those pertaining to livelihood opportunities. Affordable Housing Zones as part of a larger strategy for new planned development is necessary
in peri urban and expanding city development. At the same time, more critical attention needs to be paid on how efforts by existing dwellers to improve their units, especially in inner city areas receive enabling policy attention and encouragement. The existing record of using Eminent Domain type land acquisition or pooling type land acquisition or pooling type land acquisition or pooling type land assembly for the purpose of affordable housing is sobering. Given the stark realities, this is one public purpose which needs to stand out for policy attention and implementation.

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