National Housing Policy
A National Housing and Habitat Policy (NHP) was evolved in 1988 based on the Global Shelter Strategy adopted by the United Nations in November, 1988. The long term goal of the NHP was to eradicate homelessness, improve the housing conditions of the inadequately housed and provide a minimum level of basic services and amenities to all. Since then there have been two updated versions formulated in 1998 and 2007. In 1998, the original policy underwent a thorough review to address the issues of sustainable development, infrastructure and for strong public private partnership for better shelter delivery.
The policy also recognised the unsustainable consumption of natural resources like land, water, soil, energy, forests and minerals in construction. Hence, it advocated sustainable development of housing and settlements to provide a healthy environment
by advocating the increased use of renewable energy sources; renewable and innovative materials like fly ash, red mud etc.; efficient technologies requiring less energy and material, among others. It also looked upon the construction sector for sustainable generation of employment and subsequent capacity building of the workers.
The revised National Housing Policy of 2007, in view of increased urbanisation and increased urban poor, reiterated the sustainability concerns of its predecessor. It also recognised that the development of sustainable habitat is closely related to the adoption of the ‘Regional Planning Approach’
while preparing Master Plans of towns/ cities, District Plans and Regional/Sub-Regional Plans. It also advocates the observance of the National Building Code of 2005.
National Building Code
The latest version of the National Building Code was released in 2005. The original was prepared in 1970 and revised in 1983. In this latest version, aspects of energy conservation and sustainable development have been consistently dealt with
in various parts and sections through appropriate design, usage and practices with regard to building materials, construction technologies, and building and plumbing services. The document focuses on energy efficiency in aspects such as use of pozzolana (such as fly ash, rice husk ash, meta-kaoline, silica fume, ground granulated blast furnace slag, etc.) in concrete production. A new chapter (Part 11) is being added to the National Building Code 2005 titled, Approach to Sustainability, to provide required guidance with respect to all relevant aspects involved during planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of buildings. It looks at the life cycle concerns of building material advocates the use of low carbon sustainable alternatives.
Energy Conservation Building Code
The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has introduced a voluntary code for energy efficiency - The Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) 2006 – with the aim to reduce energy consumption from 25% to 40%, yielding annual saving of about 1.7 billion units. There is, however, no mention of building material and embodied energy concerns in this code. It looks purely at operating energy of a building.
Similarly, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy Sources (MN&RE) has initiated several programs focusing on utilisation of renewable energy sources in buildings.
Indian Green Building Council Green Homes
Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) Green Homes is the first rating programme developed in India, exclusively for the residential sector. It was envisioned in 1997 and was finally launched in 2008. The criteria encourage construction of homes which are sustainable over the life cycle of the building. The programme covers methodologies to cover diverse climatic zones and changing lifestyles. Under the Material Component, it looks at aspects of reduce, reuse, recycle, use of local materials and waste management.
Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment
TERI (The Energy & Resource Institute) developed the GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) rating system keeping in mind Indian conditions in 2006. It is a voluntary rating system for new commercial, residential and institutional buildings to facilitate design, construction, operation and evaluation of environment friendly buildings. It takes into account the National Building Code, 2005, the Energy Conservation Building Code, 2007 and other IS codes, local bye-laws, other local standards and laws. MNRE is promoting this through a combination of financial and promotional incentives, and other support measures. It has certain specific material considerations that include:
• Utilisation of fly ash in the building structure.
• Use of low-energy material in the interiors.
• Reduce volume, weight, and time of construction by adopting an efficient technology (e.g. pre-cast systems, ready-mix concrete, etc.)
Public Procurement Guidelines for State and Central Work
Articles 298 and 299 of the Indian Constitution form the foundation for public sector procurement. The Indian Contract Act, 1872 and Sale of Goods Act, 1930 provide the legislative basis. Specifically, the General Financial Rules, 2005 and the Delegation of Financial Powers Rules provide the operational framework, and the Directorate-General Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D) Manual provides the procurement model for other Central and State Government bodies, as also public sector undertakings (PSUs). Additionally, PSUs are limited companies and are bound by the provisions of the Companies Act. Only the two states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have pronounced public procurement policies.
Bricks fall in the raw materials category and only public sector manufacturing units such as the Public Works Department and Indian Railways procure raw materials.
The value of works undertaken by the CPWD in 2008-2009 was approximately Rs70 billion and the procurement bill of the Indian Railways was Rs280 billion (Apart from manufacturing of locomotives, tracks etc. the railways also grant contracts for construction of buildings and bridges). Ensuring that procurement made by these two units take environmental considerations into account could have a massive impact on GHG emissions of the country.
The CPWD and State PWDs consider only those for contracts who register with them. The PWD has a schedule of rates with the basic rate of materials in which Clamp Bricks, Bull’s Trench Kiln (K.B.) Bricks and Fly Ash bricks are included.
Indira Awas Yojna
The Indira Awas Yojna is a flagship scheme of the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) to provide financial assistance to the BPL households in rural areas for construction of a dwelling unit in all states of India. This scheme has significantly increased the demand for building materials in rural areas.
Currently, there are no procurement specifications or established layouts and the beneficiary is free to conduct their house as they please within the financial assistance provided -
Rs35,000 per unit for the plain areas and Rs38,500 for the hilly/difficult areas. However, under the guidelines of the IAY, the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) is required to give information on environmentally friendly, innovative and disaster resistant technologies.
Preferential procurement for MSME’s
A policy, awaiting Cabinet approval, has been formulated to ensure that 20 % of the procurement by the different Ministries/PSUs is made mandatorily from MSME sector. Challenge here would be to upscale the technical capabilities of MSMEs to meet quality standards and delivery schedules. The MSME share of total estimated annual procurements - over
Rs1,70,000 crore - is now a mere 5% or Rs8,500 crore. If the government accepts the recommendation, MSMEs could have a potential Rs34,000 crore slice of the overall purchases, including those made by public sector companies.