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Social rental housing and Covid 19

Posted by : Mutum, Delhi, India, Architect Urban Planner
14 Jul, 2020 23:36:31

Rental housing demand in cities is predominated by the lower income category who do not have the capital to construct or buy a house, and due to the nature of their work and period of stay chose to live in rental accommodation in grey market. The migrant workers are more vulnerable as their living expenses are edge to edge and do not have savings to sustain a long period without income. These people prefer rental housing because of its low entry and exit cost, preferred location near work place, etc. However, there has been a huge gap in demand and provision of affordable rental housing in cities. This has led to development of informal settlements which lack basic amenities and infrastructure, liable to vulnerabilities and above all tenure insecurities.

In the present emergency situation (Covid 19), it has been proven that they cannot sustain living in cities more than 15 days without income. This has led the government to response to the need of their housing to bring them back to cities as well as retain them for the economic sustainability of cities through Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHCs). The beneficiaries will include urban migrants, poor from EWS & LIG, informal workers like street vendors, rickshaw drivers, migrant working in market and trade association, manufacturing units and hospitality sector, tourist, long term tourist, students and industrial workers, and people working in educational and healthcare sectors, etc.

Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs under PMAY-U has initiated the Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHCs) in the same jurisdiction as PMAY-U covers including statutory towns including notified planning areas, development authorities, special area development authorities, industrial development authorities and any other areas as notifies by State/ UT Government which will be focused on two models through a PPP model.


In order to incentivize the PPP model as mentioned above, the Central Government has a proposal to provide concessional project finance under Affordable Housing Fund (AHF) and Priority Sector Lending (PSL), exemption in income tax and GST on any profit and gain from ARHCs, Technology Innovation Grant (TIG) for promoting use of innovative technology. The State Governments/ UTs will provide land use change permissions, 50% additional incentive FAR/ FSI, fast track approval within 30 days through single window clearance, trunk infrastructure to the project site and municipal charges at par with residential property. The period of the projects under ARHCs is 31st March 2022.


The initiative seems like the glitters of gold, some question still remains unanswered. As claimed by the Central Government that such housing units of approximately 1.8 lakhs are already existing on ground, where are they located, what are the condition of the amenities, what allied facilities like parking for cart/ rickshaw/ cycle, creche facilities, e-vehicle (e bikes and e rickshaws) charging points, single-window delivery of social protection schemes- rations and other emergency aid, etc. Research have shown that if not for appropriate location, such vulnerable segment of population is further marginalised and social crimes are predominant in such areas.