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Major initiatives in rural housing sector

Written by: Staff
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Shillong, Dec 4 (UNI) The Bharat Nirman Programme has accorded priority to provide houses tothe shelterless in the country and it is envisaged to construct 60 lakh houses over the next four years.

The Ministry of Rural Development through the Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) programme, undertakes housing to rural poor as a Centrally sponsored scheme where the cost is shared between the Centre and States on a 75:25 basis, sources said.

Grant assistance is provided to the extent of Rs 27,500 per house for hilly areas and Rs 25,000 for general areas.

In Meghalaya, out of the total target of 6959 dwelling units, 3614 houses were constructed during 2005-06. The Central government had allocated Rs 14.35 crore for 2005-06 and an amount of Rs 9.19 crore has been released up to March 2006.

The implementation guidelines of the scheme specifically target the rural BPL households. The selection of beneficiaries is done by the respective Gram Sabha from the BPL list.

The house allotment would be in the name of the female members of the family. While seeking to empower the rural women, the scheme also provides a quota for physically and mentally challenged persons, ex-servicemen, widows and freed bonded labourers.

The lot of the rural underprivileged is sought to be alleviated by the provision that at least 60 per cent of the beneficiaries should belong to the SC/ST communities. The IAY scheme also lays emphasis on individual sanitation and health by incorporating the cost of sanitary latrine and smokeless chulha into the grant.

In order to facilitate immediate relief to the victims of calamities, the District Collectors/District Magistrates/Deputy Commissioners at the district level have been authorized to use from the district allocation of IAY (including State share) or from their own resources and render aid to the victims in the construction of houses damaged due to fire, riots and arson, as per IAY norms.

The amount spent by the DRDA will be reimbursed (Central share) by the Ministry after submission of requisite documents, from the funds kept under 5 per cent IAY meant for natural calamities, sources said. Initiatives have been taken for the preparation of a Permanent IAY Waitlist of beneficiaries which will be displayed at a prominent place in every Gram Panchayat. Hence, the selection process will now be more transparent. It is hoped that this measure will end any arbitrariness or malpractices in the selection process of beneficiaries.

Rural housing, thus, is a business plan designed to substantially augment the rural infrastructure base of the country. The IAY addresses housing shortage as an important component of poverty alleviation in rural India. Greater emphasis is laid to the states with higher rates of shelterlessness.

For State-level allocations, 75 per cent weightage is given to housing shortage and 25 per cent weightage to the poverty ratios prescribed by the Planning Commission. For district level allocations, 75 per cent weightage is again given to housing shortage and 25 per cent to SC/ST component of the population.

During 2005-06, about 11.88 lakh houses were constructed with an expenditure of Rs.2839.54 crore as on April, 2006, in the country.

UNI RRK KK RN1734

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