Karnataka Affordable Housing Policy is formulated in order to improve the housing condition for low-income households, and at the same time, to create a strong relationship between government, private developers and the communities. The policy is articulated keeping in mind the growing housing demand, and the need to cater to the existing houseless population. The Policy appears to be a promoter of sustainable housing as it claims to ensure equitable supply of land, shelter, and services at affordable prices to all sections of society.
The Policy is an attempt to align the national level set objectives to state-level housing requirement. For instance, the National Urban Housing and Habitat Policy signify the role of various stakeholders. On the similar lines, The Karnataka Affordable Housing Policy highlights the roles of individual entities, private developers and government through various models. These models can be further thought as the detailed extrapolations of the four verticals under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana; which are the beneficiary-led development, credit linked subsidy, In-situ rehabilitation, and affordable housing in partnership. The Karnataka AHP uniquely shifts its focus from the beneficiary perspective to public-private participation.
There are seven models of development under the State Housing Policy. The first two models namely, Beneficiary Led House Enhancement and Beneficiary Led New House Construction highlight the selection and procurement of housing to an individual beneficiary. These two models primarily target people living in kutcha houses, old and dilapidated structures. Here the person is not characterized by any community and is treated as uniquely for housing provision by virtue of his individual housing need, falling under the Beneficiary Led Development under PMAY. The next two models; In-Situ Upgradation and In-Situ Slum Redevelopment introduce the role of Public Agency in Housing. These two housing models target the communities living in slums and unauthorized colonies and tend to upgrade/redevelop their living conditions as a whole. These two models are a testament to the In-Situ rehabilitation under PMAY. The next two models, Plotted Development and Sites with House and Services, and Group Housing and Township Projects highlight the role of private developers in the arena of housing. They detail out how private developers can cater the housing situation by construction and procurement of dwelling units. For instance, these two models overlap with the Credit-Linked Subsidy under the PMAY. These ensure proper housing to people in plotted/group housing environment with complete service provisions. With Group Housing and Township Projects, a small essence of public-private partnership seems to develop but is not so evident. This brings in the last model, which is Affordable Group Housing in Partnership. It highlights the strong inter-dependency between private players and the public agency. Incentives are to be provided by the government to the private developers. This is done in order to ensure timely and quality delivery of Housing projects. This model is the complete replication of the Affordable Housing in Partnership of PMAY.
The seven models try to target the major segments of the society. These delivery models and their corresponding resource mobilization techniques appear to ensure an effective implementation throughout. The basic impression that is obtained after reading the policy is that it fulfills its aim to create effective partnerships between the local, state and central governments. It’s efforts to work with poor urban households and communities in order to enable sustainable implementation and outcomes are also reflected. The idea of building effective partnerships with Private Developers to accelerate the supply of affordable housing occupies the central stage in the policy.
Further, the population classified as industrial workers, construction labors, houseless households, and pavement dwellers is then looked upon through specific strategies. These strategies are evident in all the development models, as well as there is a separate section dedicated to such population. It makes the policy distinct in its character to provide housing to the urban poor. Addressing a significant proportion of population with clear and defined methods makes the policy comprehensive and people-oriented.
The idea of rental housing is also thought to be explored through specific approaches and throughout the development models. The policy encourages a condition wherein demand and supply of rental housing can be balanced in an environment of mutual benefit for tenants and landlords. This marks a major landmark in catering the growing housing requirement, as it highlights the rising need of affordable housing. Institutionalized public housing is something that is not talked about in any of the central policies till date. But addressal of this issue in the Karnataka Affordable Housing Policy makes it sensitive to a large group of people who cannot own a house. This promises a roof over their head.
The policy also lays out special planning and zoning regulations for affordable housing through its unique planning and development strategies. It talks about various Government initiatives that enhance housing provisions through targeted incentives and strategic planning. Public-Private Partnership projects are typically given the major importance in the Policy Framework. This signifies the stress that policy lays over the role of people themselves in the housing situation. Clearly defined institutional functions make the policy adequately transparent. The implementation mechanisms, as defined in the policy, ease the task of general public in gaining the required information. It enables the general public with requisite amount of power at every stage of housing provision.
Such comprehensive, multi-dimensional and multi-sectoral approach to housing makes the Karnataka Affordable Housing Policy appear as a milestone to achieve equity and sustainability in Housing. It involves the need of the people to live- rather than the housing need that merely arises in the form of numbers. From defining the beneficiaries to the final provision of houses, the policy takes into consideration the complex socio-economic needs and aspirations of the people involved in the process.
Karnataka Affordable Housing Policy. (2016). Bangalore: Government of Karnataka.