The National Urban Housing & Habitat Policy 2007 (NUHHP-2007) has been formulated keeping in view the changing socio-economic parameters of the urban areas and growing requirement of shelter and related infrastructure. The Policy seeks to promote various types of public-private partnerships for realizing the goal of “Affordable Housing for All” with special emphasis on the urban poor. Given the magnitude of the housing shortage and budgetary constraints of both the Central and State Governments, the NUHHP-2007 focuses the spotlight on multiple stake-holders namely, the Private Sector, the Cooperative Sector, the Industrial Sector for labour housing and the Services/ Institutional Sector for employee housing.
The action plan of the NUHHP-2007 states that the Central Government will encourage and support the States to prepare a State Urban Housing and a concomitant State Urban Housing and Habitat Action Plan, which may include passing of specific Acts the States/UTs for realizing the policy objectives through legal and regulatory reforms, fiscal concessions, financial sector reforms and introduction of innovative instruments, for mobilizing recourses for housing and related infrastructure development at the State/UT level.
The Policy envisages specific roles for the Central Government, State Governments, local bodies, banks & housing finance companies, public/parastatal agencies. The roles of these agencies are briefly discussed as under.
Role of Central Government:
Role of State Government:
Role of banks and housing finance institutions
Initiatives by the State Governments – Role of NHB
Under the NUHHP-2007 the State Governments are also expected to formulate and implement their respective State Housing Polices. Having actively contributed in formulation of NUHHP-2007, NHB approached all the State Governments and offered help in formulation of their respective State Housing Polices. In this regard CMD had addressed letters to the Chief Secretaries of all the State Governments.
In consultation with NHB, Housing Policy for the States of Kerala & Rajasthan have been prepared and finalized. State Housing Policy for Punjab has been submitted for final approval to the State after consultation with NHB.
Outlines of Housing and Habitat Policies of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have been submitted for preparing the final policy with special emphasis on EWS/LIG segments.
It is also learnt that the Karnataka Housing Board will submit a comprehensive housing policy for the State shortly and that the Board will provide the residential sites and housed to the poor and middle-class people across the State, with focus on villages. Accordingly, the State Government is being approached with an offer of assistance in formulation of the State Housing Policy, along with broad outlines of the Housing policy and a concomitant implementation plan.
Furthermore, in accordance with role envisaged for banks and housing finance institutions under the NUHHP-2007, and also earlier Housing Policies, the role and involvement of NHB in this regard is discussed as under:
Development of Secondary Mortgage Market
The housing sector has been historically capital deficient which has resulted in housing shortage. The Government of India has accorded considerable importance to the development of secondary residential mortgage market in the country in order to enhance the flow of funds into the housing sector, increase the number of housing stock and thereby facilitate affordable home loans to the population. The National Housing and Habitat Policy of Government of India have envisaged a lead role for National Housing Bank to promote and develop the process. The Government of India amended the National Housing Bank Act, 1987 and had incorporated enabling provisions for undertaking the Residential Mortgage Backed Securitization (RMBS) activities. RMBS enabled flow of funds from the capital market into the housing sector, thus enabling greater access and affordability to the borrowers of housing loans.
Stamp duty is a crucial issue for RMBS transactions. The stamp duty rates ranges from 0.1 to 14 per cent in different States in the country. Presently, the process of securitization is limited to only a few States (Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, West Bengal etc.) which have rationalized their stamp duty structure (0.1% ad valorem, with a cap of Rs. 1.00 Lakh) It is proposed to take up the matter with the Thirteen Finance Commission so as to consider the issued in the context of devolution revenues to the States.
NHB’s Policy for Financing Slum Upgradation:
The Bank, with its focus on the unserved and underserved segments of the society, is targeting providing financial support for slum redevelopment / rehabilitation / upgradation projects.
Bank’s Project Finance Policy, project finance assistance can be extended for such projects to public housing agencies like Housing Boards, Development Authorities, Municipal Bodies, State Slum Clearance Boards/Authorities, Public Private Partnership entities, Community Based Organizations such as MFIs/NGOs constituted as Societies/ Trusts/ Section 25 Companies etc. and to private sector agencies. Till now, the Bank has financed only one such project, but efforts are underway to identify other viable projects which could be supported.
The Bank has a fort fold strategy in this imitative, namely – first, actively market Project Finance through suitable MFIs/NGOs etc. An exercise in rating non-profit organizations is also being undertaken. Secondly, develop refinance products with approval of the Board. Third, offer financing as top-up to Government schemes such as JNNURM. Fourth, use technical assistance either with Bank’s own funds or from any other national/international agency for capacity building, borrower education etc.