Today, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis gave the keynote lecture at an event hosted by the Maharashtra Economic Development Council.
Mr. Chandrashekhar Prabhu, DG, MEDC addressed the audience, setting the tone for the lecture by the Chief Minister. Mr. Prabhu raised several issues in his address, including the Draft Housing Policy, which includes an amendment to the Maharashtra Rent Control Act, 1999. Mr. Prabhu noted that this is during the pendency of the challenge to Rent Act pending in the Supreme Court, through which the landlords seek to evict over a crore of tenants. Mr. Prabhu brought the implications of the policy to the attention of the Chief Minister, stating that lakhs of tenants would be evicted and urged the Chief Minister to revisit the proposed amendment.
In his lecture, the Chief Minister addressed, amongst other topics, several issues raised by Mr. Prabhu. However, the Chief Minister was silent on the issue of the Draft Housing Policy.
In the question and answer session after the lecture, Mr. Viren Shah, President of the Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association, requested the Chief Minister to comment on the Draft Housing Policy and the dis-housing of lakhs of tenants thereby.
The Chief Minister replied saying that the housing policy “is a draft policy” and was “prepared by YASHADA” (Yashwantrao Chavan Academy for Development Administration) and has not yet gone to the Cabinet. The Chief Minister invited suggestions and changes to the policy and said “tell us the facts, convince us, and we will change it.” It appears from this statement that the Govt. intends to amend the Rent Act unless and until they are convinced otherwise.
It appears that the Chief Minister has been misled by his Housing Department. YASHADA circulated Version 4 of its Report on the Draft Maharashtra State Housing Policy on 5th April, 2015. This version does not contain the proposed amendment to the Maharashtra Rent Control Act, 1999, which amendment has found its way into the Draft Policy that was circulated by the Housing Department on 15th April, 2015. A Times of India article on 15th May, 2015 quotes a source as saying “The draft housing policy being circulated is completely different from what was deliberated and decided.”