A Step Towards Better Living

GS paper II : – Government policies and interventions for development of various sectors.

What to study?

  • For Prelims: PMAY- Urban- key features.
  • For Mains: Significance of the scheme, challenges ahead and measures needed to achieve the target.

Context: According to the findings by ratings agency Crisil, the central government has to mobilise Rs 1 lakh crore in the next three years for achieving its target of building 1 crore houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Urban (PMAY-U), being implemented by the ministry of housing and urban affairs under the mission ‘Housing for All by 2022’ since June 2015.

October 7 is considered as World Habitat Day observed on the first Monday of October every year since 1985.
This day reflects on the state of human settlements and also on the basic right to sufficient shelter worldwide.

World Habitat Day supports the United Nations’ habitat mission towards transformative change in cities and human settlements i.e. to leave no one and no place behind. The World Heritage Day is intended to remind the world that we have the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns.

This year’s Global Observance of World Habitat Day is being held in Mexico. The theme this time is ” Frontier Technologies as an innovative tool to transform waste to wealth “. Building on last year’s theme of ” Municipal Solid Waste Management“, the purpose this year is to shift focus beyond solid waste and encompass all kinds of waste that have a devastating impact on climate change, public health and environment.

Significance :-

  • Multiple events are organised worldwide to improve problems of fast urbanisation and it’s impact on the environment.
  • Events like these are also held in countries like Kenya, Cameron, Canada.
  • Currently the UN Settlement Award aims to acknowledge the initiatives which have outstanding contribution in various fields such as
    1. shelter provision,
    2. highlighting the plight of the homeless,
    3. leadership in post conflict reconstruction, developing,
    4. improving human settlements
    5. quality of urban life.

More than 3 decades ago, the UN had taken an important step in declaring October 7 as UN Habitat Day but nothing much has been worked on ground level.

Each year it takes on a new theme to grab attention to the UN Habitat mandate and promotes policy that ensures shelter for all.

This year the main focus of the mandate is on Waste Management and it’s implications on climate change.

The use of Frontier Technologies suggest automation, robotics, electrical vehicles, renewable energy technologies, AI can provide better, cheaper, faster technologies and solutions for everyday problems.

The main aim is to change the discourse into a positive one where waste is presented as an opportunity to bring about wealth change on communities and cultures.

According to UN Secretary, Antonio Guterres, solution begins with small steps taken by citizens to alter their city functions. We can use waste as valuable resource which can be reused and recycled to form energy.

According to WHO, 1.2 Billion people in developing nations have no access to safe drinking water, 1.8 Billion people live without sanitation.

Objectives of the World Habitat Day.

  • Inclusive housing.
  • Safe and healthy living environment for all.
  • Affordable and Sustainable transport and energy.
  • Promotion Protection and Restoration of Green Urban Spaces.
  • Safe and Clean Water.
  • Creating Employment.
  • Improve urban planning and slum upgradation.
  • Better waste management.

Issues of Waste management : – 

  •  The world produces 7-10 Billion tonnes of waste annually.
  • Proper management of waste is essential to build sustainable, livable cities. Waste Management is a huge challenge for many developing countries.
  • Lack of adequate water management has resulted into air, soil, water pollution, threat to public health, ecosystem and bio-diversity. Large quantity of waste is majorily accumulated in oceans.

Solutions to Waste Management : –   

  • At the same time Sustainable Waste Management presents opportunities from innovative waste management to end 5 R’s.
    • 1. Reduce   2. Reuse   3. Recycle   4. Recovery and   5. Residual Management.
  • Cities can manage waste effectively and also create employment and promote economic growth, prove health and ecosystems. This will contribute to happier, greener, healthier cities and create enormous savings for cities and municipality.
  • Frontier Technologies can help us with biodegradable plastics and big data to help us understand Nanotechnologies to help reduce water wastage.
  • Maintaining cities sustainable means green, safe and affordable housing and also building resilient societes.

According to World Economic and Social Survey, 2018, Frontier Technologies have the potential to improve how people work and live. There are lots of opportunities present to the Urban people to achieve the SDG’s of inclusive and resilient cities.

Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, Hardeep Puri maintained that India is progressing towards the direction of affordable housing in conformity of basic standards of environmental protection. 

  • The Housing Minster says that the government is well set to achieve this target before 2 years.
  • Living in a city is a dream for many Indians and therefore has resulted in massive urbanisation and put pressure on the environment.
  • According to a report by 2050 nearly half of the India population will be living in urban areas.

Currently India has 100 smart cities and therfore Puri urged urban effective bodies to manage solid waste by creating a group of dedicated officers and skilled municipal staff by providing adequate training.

This mission will also augment the government’s Swatch Bharat Abhiyan and Smart City projects.

  • Big Towns -> Smart Mission.
  • Rural Towns -> Amrut Mission  –  Transforming the core areas.

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) was launched in June 2015 with an objective to provide affordable housing to urban and rural poor. This scheme has two components viz. 

  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana for the urban poor 
  • Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (Gramin) for the rural poor.

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Urban

  • Slum rehabilitation of Slum Dwellers with participation of private developers using land as a resource.
  • Promotion of Affordable Housing for weaker section through credit linked subsidy.
  • Affordable Housing in Partnership with Public & Private sectors.
  • Subsidy for beneficiary-led individual house construction /enhancement.

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Rural

  • Of the total 4.72 lakh beneficiaries identified across the country, only 56,694 have been allotted land.
  • Among the best performing states in terms of land allotment are Sikkim, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
  • States like Goa, Kerala and West Bengal have drawn a blank in terms of allotment of land to beneficiaries.


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