Urban poor to get vouchers to pay house rent soon

| | New Delhi

The Narendra Modi Government is in the process  to issue vouchers/coupons to urban poor so that they can pay their rent. The amount of voucher would be decided by local bodies.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation is considering introduction of subsidies in the form of direct benefit transfer that would be provided to economically weaker sections (EWS) and low income group (LIG) households towards their rent payments. The Centre will soon roll out a Rs2,700-crore welfare scheme in 100 smart cities to give rent coupons/ vouchers to the urban poor.

A draft National Urban Rental Housing Policy is ready and it will be soon brought before the Union Cabinet.

Announcing about National Urban Rental Housing policy, Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said that a proposal to this effect are ready and soon put up before the Union Cabinet for approval.

According to Census 2011, about 27.5 per cent of urban residents lived in rented houses in 2011.

According to Naidu, the new policy will help the migrant workers, students and economically weaker section to solve housing problem. The move will also help to real estate sector.

The draft of national urban rental housing policy introduces the concept of providing housing vouchers/coupons to the urban poor, equivalent to a certain cash amount to partially offset the cost of rent incurred by them.

“Though the policy has been in the works for three years, the first component is likely to be rolled out in 2017-18 financial year in the smart cities,” said a Ministry source.

According to source, the tenant would give these vouchers/coupons to the landowner, who in turn would be able to redeem them at any citizen service bureau. If the rent is higher than the value of rent voucher, the tenant would pay the difference in cash to the landowner.

The value of rent voucher/coupon would be determined by the urban local body on the basis of class or size of the dwelling unit and the prevalent rent in the city.

However, the draft policy defines the Centre’s role as a “facilitator” and “enabler” for promoting rental housing.

It says the Centre would “encourage states to provide subsidies for low-income tenants”.

“Once the concept of housing vouchers gets their approval, a proposal will be sent to the finance ministry, asking that we should be allowed to subsidise rents paid by the urban poor through central assistance. If approved, the subsidy can be rolled out as a separate scheme,” said a ministry source.



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