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Modi lays foundation stone of Light House Projects across six states
Two crore rural houses built so far under Global Housing Technology Challenge
New Delhi, January 1, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today laid the foundation stone of Light House projects (LHPs) under the Global Housing Technology Challenge (GHTC) at six sites across six States.
He also announced the winners under Affordable Sustainable Housing Accelerators-India (ASHA-India) and gave away the annual awards for excellence in implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban (PMAY-U) Mission.
He released a certification course on innovative construction technologies named NAVARITIH (New, Affordable, Validated, Research Innovation Technologies for Indian Housing).
Union Minister for Housing & Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri and the Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh were present on the occasion.
Modi said today was the day to move forward with new energy, to prove new resolutions and the country was getting new technology to build houses for the poor and the middle class. The houses, called Light House projects in technical language, were really like lighthouses showing a new direction to the housing sector in the country, he said.
"At one time, housing schemes were not as much as the priority of the Central Government and it did not go into the nuances and quality of home construction. Today, the country has chosen a different approach, adopting a different route and better technology, to complete the projects faster," he said.
He stressed on the importance of the ministries not to have large and sluggish structures, but to be fit like startups. He expressed happiness about the active participation of more than 50 innovative construction companies from around the world. “This global challenge has given us a scope to innovate and incubate with new technology,” he added.
The Prime Minister said that, in the next phase of the same process, the Light House projects will use modern construction technology and innovative processes to reduce the construction time and provide more resilient, affordable and comfortable houses for the poor.
For example, the project in Indore will not have brick and mortar walls, instead, they will use the prefabricated Sandwich Panel system. The Light Houses in Rajkot will be built using French technology and have monolithic concrete construction technology using tunnel, making it more capable of withstanding disasters.
In Chennai, US and Finland technologies will use the precast concrete system, which will construct the house faster and cheaper. In Ranchi, the houses will be built using Germany's 3D construction system. Each room will be made separately and then the entire structure will be put together like Lego block toys. Houses were being built in Agartala with steel frames using New Zealand's technology which can withstand major earthquake risk. Canada's technology is being used in Lucknow, which will not require plaster and paint and will use entire walls already prepared to build houses faster.
Thousands of houses will be built in 12 months at every location which will act as incubation centres through which planners, architects, engineers and students will be able to learn and experiment with new technology. Along with this, a certificate course will be started to upgrade the skills related to new technology for those in the construction sector.
He pointed out that the ASHA-India program was being run to promote research and startups related to modern housing technology within the country. Through this, new and affordable technology for building 21st-century houses will be developed in India itself. Five best techniques have also been selected under this campaign.
"The biggest dream of poor or middle-class people living in the city was owning a house. But over the years, people were losing their trust in ever being able to own a house. The demand has also gone down due to high prices. The high interest rates charged by the bank and the difficulties in getting loans have further dampened the interest," Modi said.
He expressed satisfaction over the efforts made in the last six years to restore the confidence of the common man that he too can have his own house. Under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, lakhs of houses have been built in a very short time in cities.
Modi said the PM Awas Yojana's focus was both on innovation and implementation as per the local needs and expectations of the homeowners. “It is a complete package as every unit is equipped with electricity-water-gas connection. Transparency is being ensured through the technologies like geo-tagging and Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to the beneficiaries,” he added.
Talking about the benefits for the middle classes, Modi said they were getting rebates on home loan interest. A special fund of Rs 25,000 crore, created for incomplete housing projects, will also help them. Measures like the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) have brought back the trust of the homeowners and given them confidence that they will not be cheated out of their hard-earned money. As many as 60,000 projects were registered under RERA and thousands of grievances have been redressed under the law, he said.
“Getting the key of a house is not just getting possession of a dwelling unit but it opens doors of dignity, confidence, a safe future, new identity and expanding possibilities. All-round work that is being done for ‘Housing for All’ is bringing positive change in the lives of crores of poor and middle-class families,” he added.
In this context, he also mentioned a new scheme that was taken up during the COVID-19 pandemic, namely, Affordable Renting Housing Complex Schemes. The Government was working with industry and other investors to provide housing at fair rent to the migrants who go to work in other states. Their housing conditions were often unhygienic and undignified. Efforts were on to provide them with fair rent dwellings in the vicinity of their workplace.
Referring to the measures taken recently to help the real estate sector, he noted the reduction of tax on cheap houses from the earlier 8% to just 1%, GST reduction from the earlier 12% to 5%, recognizing the sector as infrastructure making it eligible for cheap loans. Such steps have taken India’s ranking for a construction permit from 185 to 27. The procedure for obtaining construction permission has been taken online in more than 2000 towns, the Prime Minister said.