Only an inclusive city can be a sustainable city: Kumari Selja

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New Delhi, Oct 5 (ANI): Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Tourism Kumari Selja today said only an inclusive city can be a sustainable and we have to work towards an urban India where we would address developmental disparities in a comprehensive and holistic manner.

Delivering the World Habitat Day (WHD) address here, she said the indicator of livable cities is good infrastructure, clean environment, a good quality of life and vibrant economic base for all its citizens.

"It is necessary to break away from past trends and practices and to take decisive action for inclusive urban development that acknowledges the presence of the poor in cities, recognizes their contributions as essential to the city's functioning and redresses the fundamental reasons for inequity that ties them down to poverty," she added

She said the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), Interest Subsidy Scheme for Housing the Urban Poor (ISHUP) and the scheme for Affordable Housing in Partnership together seek to upgrade slums and create additional stock by enabling the construction of about 25 lakh houses with basic amenities for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and Low Income Groups (LIG) by the end of 11th Five-Year Plan.

Referring to the proposed Rajiv Awas Yojana, she said, it proposes to bringing existing slums within the formal system and enabling them to avail of the same amenities as the rest of the town; redressing the failures of the formal system that lie behind the creation of slum and force the poor to resort to extralegal solutions in a bid to retain their sources of livelihood and employment.

"A slum-free India is an aggregate of the vision of slum-free state. The minister said the states who need to attend and arrest the problem through a two pronged approach; by upgradation of existing slums and preventing new slums," she added

She also said the scheme will focus on according property rights to slum-dwellers/urban poor by States/UTs, but facilitate an all-encompassing environ adopting a 'whole city' approach and providing basic amenities such as water supply, sewerage, drainage, internal and approach roads, street lighting and social infrastructure facilities in slums and low income settlements and enabling the construction of houses by the slum-dweller/ urban poor through access to subsidized credit.

Listing another major initiative of the ministry, Selja said draft bill of the Model Real Estate (Regulation of Development) Act has been put on website of the Housing ministry inviting comments from public at large. The draft bill is essentially rooted in the need to promote planned and healthy real estate development of colonies and apartments, with a view to protection consumer interest on the one hand and to facilitate a smooth and speedy urban construction on the other," she added.

The theme for the WHD 2009 is 'Planning our urban future'. The theme has been chosen in order to raise awareness for improvement of urban planning to deal with new challenges of the 21st century, as in both developed and developing countries, cities and towns are increasingly feeling the effects of climate change, resource depletion, food insecurity, population growth and economic instability. (ANI)

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