March 22, 2017

INDIA: Every Ward In Mumbai City Will Have A Crèche (Child Day Care), Old-Age Home, And Hostel For Women As Part Of A New Infrastructure Plan That Focuses On Strengthening Social Fabric.

Mumbai Mirror, India
written by Tanvi Deshpande
Monday March 20, 2017

The plan, which is a blueprint for Mumbai’s infrastructure development over the next 20 years, focuses on strengthening social fabric and eliminating loneliness.

Working women who relocate to Mumbai often have a hard time finding accommodation as many homeowners refuse to rent their apartments to single women, or refuse to take them on as paying guests. And working parents have limited options when it comes to child-rearing: they must either depend on their parents to help raise the kids, hire expensive nannies and leave them unsupervised, or drop them off at a crèche.

But what if single women could access a larger pool of safe, affordable housing in the city? And working parents could combine the safety and support that grandparents provide with the facilities and emergency care available at good crèches, but without the added expense and risk of a nanny? This is what the BMC is trying to achieve with a novel and socially responsible concept incorporated in its proposed Development Plan (DP).

Mumbai’s draft Development Plan 2034 (DP), a blueprint for the city’s infrastructure development for the next 20 years, will have provisions for an old-age home, a crèche and a women’s hostel to be built in each of the city’s 24 wards. What’s heartening for families is that the old-age homes and crèches will be located within the same premises, allowing senior citizens to visit with their grandchildren during the day, when the parents are away at work.

Although the state government was originally supposed to publish the DP in 2011, it remains unpublished. The BMC’s new general assembly recently asked for a two-month extension beyond this year’s March 20 deadline to further study and discuss the draft DP before it is passed.

“One of the biggest hurdles for working women is that of accommodation and daycare centres for their children,” said senior IAS officer Ramanath Jha, who heads the DP revision process. “Similarly, most old-age homes are located away from the city as they don’t have access to land, making it difficult for relatives to visit the elderly. That is why, as a social responsibility, we are providing for these in every ward.”

Jha said the BMC has already identified land in each ward for the proposed centres, with a minimum of 1,000 sq m set aside for old-age homes, which will be located close to open spaces and hospitals to improve the quality of life of the elderly who live there.

The municipal body has selected unencumbered land to speed up the process of constructing these centres, and the buildings, which are likely to be multi-storied because of higher FSI, will have ramps, elevators and designated walking tracks designed for the special needs of senior citizens and the disabled.

“If the land parcel belongs to a private person, we will give them incentives as per accommodation reservation policies. But if it is public land, the BMC will construct the facility,” Jha said, referring to a rule under which, when a private owner hands over a plot of land to the BMC in lieu of TDR, and also constructs the facility, the owner gets added incentives such as FSI. This is called accommodation reservation.

However, the BMC will not run any these centres. Like with BMC nursing homes and maternity hospitals, charitable organisations will run these centres after signing agreements with the BMC. “We want these centres to be financially viable. That is why we will issue guidelines about the rent and monthly charges. There will be a set of terms and conditions with every agreement,” Jha said.

Charitable organisations can apply to run these centres in response to public advertisements that are likely to be issued soon. Extensions will depend on compliance with the terms and conditions; a breach could lead to the agreement being revoked.

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