Affordable Housing Current Affairs - 2019

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Finance Minister: Rs 25,000 crore Fund for stuck Housing Projects

On November 7, 2019, Government of India announced the establishment of Rs 25,000 crore fund for home buyers whose money is stuck in stalled projects. According to the Ministry of Finance, there are over 1600 such projects comprising of 4.58 lakh housing units across the country. The “Special Window” will prioritize debt financing in the Affordable and middle-income housing sector.

About the fund

  • Rs 10,000 crore is to be provided by GoI towards the fund. Other firms like LIC and SBI along with sovereign wealth funds and pension funds will contribute Rs 15,000 crore
  • The fund is to be set up as Category II Alternate Investment Fund.
  • The fund is to be registered with SEBI as an escrow account.

Highlights

  • Under the special window, the projects that have been declared as NPAs (Non Performing Assets) and other projects that are undergoing insolvency at NCLT are also allowed to be kick started

Significance

  • The fund infusion will help provide employment to workers and also help restore trust between buyers and developers
  • Reviving housing sector will increase demand for cement and iron and steel industries that will generate more employment
  • The special window will help releasing the stress in other major sectors of the Economy

India Cooling Action Plan

India Cooling Action Plan was released by the Union Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. The plan is aimed at reducing emissions and providing thermal comfort to citizens.

India Cooling Action Plan

  • India Cooling Action Plan provides a 20-year perspective to address the cooling requirements across various sectors and recommends ways to provide access to sustainable cooling and thermal comfort for people.
  • Under the action plan, the government has planned to achieve at least 30% reductions in cooling energy requirement by improving the energy efficiency of room ACs and fans, better servicing and optimized operations in cold chains.
  • The government also plans to provide training to 1 lakh service technicians to ensure optimum usage of currently installed air conditions.
  • The plan also proposes Reduction of the cooling load of building sector through the fast-tracked implementation of building energy codes, adoption of thermal comfort standards, enhancing consumer awareness through eco-labelling of cooling products, push towards public transport and faster adoption of hybrid and electric vehicles.
  • The plan recommends the use of climate-appropriate and energy efficient building design for construction of houses for economically weaker sections (EWS) under government affordable housing schemes.
  • The plan states that plan to phase out of ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) is already underway, and under the second phase, the most common refrigerant – HCFC-22 would be phased out from six major room AC brands by 2022.
  • Recognize “cooling and related areas” as a thrust area of research under the national S&T Programme

Targets under India Cooling Action Plan

  • Reduce cooling demand across sectors by 20% to 25% by 2037-38.
  • Reduce refrigerant demand by 25% to 30% by 2037-38.
  • Reduce cooling energy requirements by 25% to 40% by 2037-38.

The implementation of the India Cooling Action Plan would be overseen by an inter-ministerial Empowered Steering Committee approved by the Cabinet and Ozone Cell of the Environment Ministry act as a Cooling Secretariat to coordinate actions with other ministries.