Govt announces ‘one nation, one ration card,’ rental housing scheme for migrant workers

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NEW DELHI: The Centre on Thursday announced the launch of a scheme to provide homes to migrant labour/urban poor at affordable rent, and extended the interest subsidy scheme for middle-income families till March 2021 to boost housing demand.
The extension of the CLSS (Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme) will benefit 2.5 lakh middle-income families during this fiscal year and will lead to an investment of over Rs 70,000 crore in the housing sector, besides job creation.
Announcing the decisions, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said “the government will launch a new scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) for migrant labour/urban poor to provide ease of living at an affordable rent.”
Migrant labour and urban poor face challenges in getting houses at affordable rent, she said.
Under the scheme, government-funded housing in the cities will be converted into Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHCs) under the PPP mode through concessionaires.
The new scheme will incentivise manufacturing units, industries, institutions, associations to develop such complexes on their private land and operate them. It will incentivise central and state government agencies to develop ARHCs.
The ministry of housing and urban affairs will issue detailed guidelines on the initiative.
That apart, Sitharaman announced extension of CLSS up to March 2021.
The CLSS for the middle income group, having an annual income of Rs 6-18 lakh, was operationalised from May 2017. The scheme was extended till March 2020 and has benefitted 3.3 lakh families so far.
“Government will extend the CLSS scheme up to March 2021. About 2.5 lakh middle income families will benefit during 2020-21,” the finance minister said.
This will lead to an investment of over Rs 70,000 crore in the housing sector and create jobs.
“This will also help stimulate demand for steel, cement, transportation and other construction materials,” Sitharaman said.
Under this scheme, a home buyer can avail interest subsidy of up to Rs 2.7 lakh. The scheme is run by the National Housing Bank (NHB) and Housing Finance Companies (HFCs).
The CLSS under PMAY makes the home loan affordable as the subsidy provided on the interest component reduces the outflow of the customer on the home loan.
The announcements came a day after the Centre said it will send advisories to real estate regulators to extend the completion timeline of projects registered under the RERA law by six months, by treating the Covid-19 as an act of God/force majeure.
The finance minister also announced free distribution of 5 kg foodgrains and 1 kg ‘chana’ for next two months to approximately 8 crore migrants who do not have either central or state ration cards.
Announcing the second tranche of the economic package, she said about Rs 3,500 crore will be spent towards this initiative.
Besides, the minister said the government will make ration cards portable under the initiative ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ to allow migrant workers to access their ration across the country.
“This will enable migrant beneficiaries to access PDS grains from any fair price shop (FPS) in the country. About 67 crore beneficiaries in 23 states covering 83 per cent of the PDS population will be covered by national portability by August 2020,” she said.
She further said 100 per cent national portability will be achieved by March 2021. All states and union territories will complete full FPS automation by March 2021, she added.
Already 17 states/UTs are ready with FPS automation. These include Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Jharkhand, Tripura, Bihar, UP, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Daman and Diu.
Under the initiative, eligible beneficiaries under NFSA would be able to avail their entitled foodgrains from any Fair Price Shop in the country using the same ration card.

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