The Centre plans to provide more funds for construction of houses in rural areas as part of its ambitious programme to provide shelter for all in the next few years and to bundle this with amenities such as cheap power, water and construction labour.
Around 30 million houses are planned under the prime minister’s Housing for All scheme in rural areas, each a minimum size of 250 sq ft. It will subsume the existing Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) and the per-unit subsidy for construction will be also raised. At present under IAY, the money allotted for building one house is Rs 70,000 in the plains and Rs 75,000 for hilly and difficult areas, found to be substantially inadequate.
Officials said the unit allocation might even be doubled. “The matter is being looked at by the finance ministry. We’re hopeful that the funds to be given to each homeless family for construction of a house in rural areas would be adequate,” a senior official said. He said a cabinet note on this was due for clearance.
|CENTRE’S GRAND PLANS|
The official said the shelter would also be provided cheap power through the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana, a single-point water connection through the Swachh Bharat Mission and labour, working under the rural job guarantee scheme, could be used for such construction of houses as well.
“In short, a convergence of all ongoing programmes and a full package of amenities to the identified beneficiaries,” the official explained.
For identification of beneficiaries, the ministry plans to extensively depend on the recently issued Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC). Conducted extensively in the rural areas over a couple of years, it has identified households with one roof or less and also having a kucha (non-firm) roof and floor as one of the deprivation categories. These will be targeted first. The SECC says 23.8 million households in rural areas or 13.3 per cent of the total of 179.5 million families live in houses with one room or less and with kucha walls and roof.
As for urban housing, the Union cabinet had come months earlier cleared a proposal under the National Mission for Urban Housing. Assistance of Rs 150,000 per unit was sanctioned for poorer sections, with other benefits. The initial target is to build 20 mn houses.