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Maharashtra Budget 2017-18 : Slums under threat of eviction immediately after BMC elections

Sudhir Mungantiwar, Cabinet Minister – Finance, Planning and Forest Department, Government of Maharashtra - Photo By Sachin Murdeshwar GPN NETWORK.Sudhir Mungantiwar, Cabinet Minister – Finance, Planning and Forest Department, Government of Maharashtra - Photo By Sachin Murdeshwar GPN NETWORK.

•14% cut in housing budget Only 9% fund utilised from the previous allocation Faulty framework to address the housing problem

MUMBAI, (GPN):  The current allocation of fund for housing for fiscal year 2017-18 by Maharashtra has seen 14% cut against the previously allocated fund. Maharashtra government could only use 9% of the previously allocated fund for housing. While at the same time local authorities in Mumbai, have started evicting those very slums who were promised basic amenities before the BMC election. The cut in the current housing budget, the underutilisation of the previous fund and the eviction drive only suggest the indifference of the government towards a grave housing problem.

The table below explains the cut in the current budget and the underutilisation of the previous budget:

Housing Budget

Table 1: Budget figures                                                                        Amount in Rs. Crores

  2015-16

Actuals

2016-17

Budget Estimates

2016-17

Revised Estimates

2017-18

 Budget Estimates

Housing 739.00 1150.00 3487.00 2978.00
per capita Rs. 61.53 94.88 287.71 243.90
percent of Govt Expenditure 0.35 0.45 1.32 1.06
percent of GSDP 0.04 0.05 0.15 0.12

The allocations to housing department in year 2017-18 have been cut by almost 14% as compared with the revised estimates of 2016-17.

Table 2: Expenditure on housing in year 2016-17 as on 20 March 2017                     Amount in Rs. Crores

Yearly Budget April-March
Major Head Budgeted Released % Received BEAMS Expenditure Actual Expenditure
in Treasury
% of Actual Expenditure
in Treasury
Housing 2081.763 187.299 8.997 187.299 179.658 178.660 8.582

As on 20 March 2017, the housing department has spent only 8.58% of its budgeted funds. This gross underspending will surely reflect through all the flagship programs and schemes under housing.

Source: JHA

The mechanism set by the Maharashtra government to solve housing problem will only cater to the need of the few needy people while a large chunk of people will be still facing the same problem.  The Maharashtra draft housing policy has estimated a shortage of 19 lakh housing units. The government aims to construct these units by the year 2022 in accordance with the Central ’Housing For All’ scheme. However, the slow peace with which the government is working to complete the aims tells a different story. Not even a single house unit is built under the Housing For All scheme in period of almost three years.

The rules formulated by the Maharashtra Government to implement the Central HFA scheme are such that it will provide housing to those who can happily spare Rs. 8,000-10,000 per month as EMI for the housing obtained under this scheme. While it has emerged from the survey being conducted by the Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan in various slums in Mumbai-where the most of the housing shortage is calculated- that there is a huge population which earn less than 8,000-10,000 per month. These are the slums which are not protected by the government and are not eligible for alternative housing. These slums are now being evicted immediately after BMC election.

A major slum in Char Bunglows called Siddharth Nagar was under threat of eviction today but due to people’s pressure, it has been stopped temporarily. Had pressure was not built, more than 600 families would have been made homeless. During the election campaign several political parties promised of all the basic amenities in this settlement. BMC even sanctioned water connection and community toilets to this settlement very recently. Around 300 children going in the local DN Nagar BMC schooling are have their exams going on. Before the Hosuing For All scheme is implemented, several thousand are being made homeless. This is precisely because a scheme cannot guarantee protection of right but a law. Hence a separate law is needed to protect housing rights and ensure every needy person a security of minimum housing and livelihood.

The eviction drive going on in Mumbai at different places, which are mostly going unreported, only suggests that the Maharashtra government has realised that it cannot meet the target of 19 lakh housing units by 2022 nor it can cater to each needy household, hence they are trying to get rid of their responsibility by simply evicting people. We condemn this tacit policy of the government to address the housing problem and demand practical policy to solve housing problem.ends

About the Author

Sachin Murdeshwar
Sachin Murdeshwar is a Sr.Journalist and Columnist in several Mainline Newspapers and Portals.He is an ardent traveller and likes to explore destinations to the core.

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