New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of Light House projects (LHPs) under the Global Housing Technology Challenge (GHTC) at six sites across six states, on Friday, 1st January 2021, through video conference. He announced the winners under Affordable Sustainable Housing Accelerators – India (ASHA-India) and gave away annual awards for excellence in the implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Urban (PMAY-U) Mission. He also released a certification course on innovative construction technologies named NAVARITIH (New, Affordable, Validated, Research Innovation Technologies for Indian Housing). Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, and Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh were present on the occasion, according to a press statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.
Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Modi said it is the day to move forward with new energy, to prove new resolutions, and the country is getting new technology to build houses for the poor, middle class. He said the houses are called light house projects in technical language but these 6 projects are really like lighthouses showing a new direction to the housing sector in the country.
The Prime Minister cited these light house projects as an example of the approach of the present Government. He said at one time, housing schemes were not as much the priority of the Central Government and did not go into the nuances and quality of home construction. Today, the country has chosen a different approach, adopting a different route and a better technology, to complete the projects faster, he said, adding that the importance was for the Government 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, saying this global challenge has provided scope to innovate and incubate with new technology.
PM Modi said in the next phase of the same process, the work of 6 light house projects at different sites is starting from 1st January. These light house projects will be made up of modern technology and innovative processes and reduce the construction time and make a more resilient, affordable, and comfortable house for the poor, he said, and further explained that these light houses have innovations in construction technology. 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 a tunnel and the house will be 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, houses will be built using Germany’s 3D construction system. Each room will be made separately and then the entire structure will be added in the same way as Lego blocks toys. He said houses are being built in Agartala with the steel frames using New Zealand’s technology which can withstand major earthquake risks. Canada’s technology is being used in Lucknow, which will not require plaster and paint and will use the entire walls already prepared to build houses faster. He further said that 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. He announced that along with this, a certificate course will be started to upgrade the skills related to new technology to the people in the construction sector, so that the people can get the best technology and material in the world in house construction.
According to the PMO, the Prime Minister remarked that the ASHA-India program is 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, he said, adding that the five best techniques have also been selected under this campaign. Prime Minister Modi said that the biggest dream of the poor or middle-class people living in the city is owning their house, but over the years, people were losing their trust. He said that even after earning the trust, the demand has gone down due to high prices, and that people have lost trust whether they would have legal standing in case of any issue. High-interest rates of the bank and the difficulties in getting loans have further dampened the interest in owning a house, he said. The Prime Minister expressed satisfaction over the efforts taken in the last 6 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, he said.
The Prime Minister said that in the PM Awas Yojna, construction’s focus is both on innovation and implementation as per the local needs and expectations of the home-owners, adding that it is a complete package as every unit is equipped with the electricity-water-gas connection. He said transparency is being ensured through the technologies like geo-tagging and Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to the beneficiaries, as per the PMO press statement.
Talking about the benefits for the middle classes, PM Modi said they are getting rebates on home loan interest, adding that a special fund of Rs. 25,000 crore, created for incomplete housing projects, will also help the middle class. Measures like 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, he said, observing that there are 60 thousand projects registered under RERA and thousands of grievances have been redressed under the law.
The Prime Minister said that getting the key of a house is not just getting possession of a dwelling unit but it opens doors of dignity, confidence, 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 remarked.
Prime Minister Modi also mentioned that the new scheme was taken up during the Covid-19 pandemic i.e. Affordable Renting Housing Complex Schemes. He said the Government is working with industry and other investors to provide housing with fair rents to the workers who come to work from various states to different states, observing that their housing conditions are often unhygienic and undignified. Effort is on to provide them fair rent dwellings in the vicinity of their workplace, he said, adding that this is the Government’s responsibility that their worker friends should live with dignity.
The Prime Minister also recounted the measures taken recently to help the real estate sector, observing that measures like the reduction of tax on cheap houses from 8 to 1 percent, GST reduction from 12 to 5 percent, and recognising the sector as infrastructure for making it eligible for cheap loans have taken India’s ranking for construction permit from 185 to 27. The procedure for construction permissions have been taken online in more than 2,000 towns, the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister also stated that more than 2 crore housing units have been constructed in rural India, concluding that effort will be on to accelerate the speed of rural housing this year.
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