Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri today directed review of floor area ratio (FAR) norms in mega cities, a move aimed at ensuring better utilisation of scarce land resources due to rapid urbanisation, an official release said. The initiative came in the backdrop of government’s think tank NITI Aayog’s recommendation for relaxation of FSI/FAR norms in urban areas to give a push to urban development. FAR, also known as FSI, is the ratio of a building’s total floor area to the size of the piece of the land on which it is built. A higher FAR indicates that a builder gets more area to construct.
In Indian cities, it is generally about 1.50, which is considered to be on the lower side given the needs of rapid urbanisation. Puri asked the ministry officials to “take up a time- bound review of these (FSI/FAR) norms in all the 53 cities with a population of one million and above each”, the release said. The minister noted that increasing the availability of land in urban areas is critical to meet the demand for affordable housing under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) under which the government targets construction of 1.2 crore affordable houses for urban poor. He also suggested a similar review for state capitals with less than one million population each in due course, the release said.
Meanwhile, the minister also released Metro Policy, which was approved by the Union Cabinet last month, at a ‘National Dissemination Workshop on New Metro Rail Policy’ here. Stating that Metro Rail is not an end in itself to solve urban mobility problems but only one of the means, the minister called for a holistic approach with proper integration of various modes of transport based on local context. “It is paradoxical that while the developed countries and particularly, the Nordic countries like Norway are going back to cycles, developing countries including India are relying more on cars,” he said.