Rural housing to get a big financial boost soon

Union Minister for Rural Development Birender Singh on Friday strongly pitched for overhauling of the Rural Housing Scheme
Rural housing to get a big financial boost soon

The government aims to provide quality and durable dwelling units to rural poor. Minister for Rural Development Birender Singh said that the current amount of Rs 70,000 for Indira Awaas Yojana is insufficient to build a decent and livable house and called for significant enhancement of Central allocation for rural housing scheme in tune with the recent hike for urban houses.

The Ministry is finalizing the guidelines to be rolled out soon. Singh said, to achieve the goal of Housing for All by 2022, nearly 3 crore houses would be built in rural areas in the next 7 years and about two crore houses in the urban areas. But, he cautioned the officials not to achieve the target at a superficial level, but to provide the beneficiaries with houses that can last upto 40 years. He was speaking at a workshop here on Affordable Rural Housing Technology. He said that rural housing would get big financial boost soon to meet the set targets.

Singh said that in the last three decades more than 3 crore 35 lakh Indira Awaas units were built for the rural poor but nearly half of them are now in a dilapidated condition due to poor quality of construction material used into them. He said, the life span of Indira Awaas is not more than 10 years and instructed the officials to explore the possibilities of procuring steel, cement and bricks at cheaper rates by providing coal at concessional rates to manufacturers of the housing materials. The Minister said that benefits of MGNREGA and Sanitation will also be dovetailed into the rural housing scheme to ensure quality and durability. Singh said that guidelines for the housing should be equal for all and there should be no discrimination in allocating dwelling units to the beneficiaries. Exhorting the Experts on the Housing sector to brainstorm the issue without having constraints of the official line, the Minister welcomed new ideas and out of box solutions to provide affordable rural houses to the poor.

Minister of State for Rural Development Sudarshan Bhagat said that housing not only provides security to the poor but also instill confidence into them to face challenges of life. He also lamented the fact that poor quality of houses are being built under Indira Awaas Yojana and called for rectifying the same. Bhagat also harped on the idea of using locally available materials and training of unemployed youth in the construction sector. Underlining that Housing is a very basic and humanitarian need of the deprived sections of society, the Minister has expressed the hope that by 2022, the goal of Housing for All will be a reality.

Secretary, Rural Development, JK Mohapatra in his address said that technology dissemination for rural housing has a distinct class bias and the Centre had failed to roll out appropriate alternative technologies to provide quality houses to the poor. He also laid stress on the use of institutional and social capital available in the rural areas to augment the vast housing demand. He said that there is enough room for innovation in the housing sector and expressed the hope that the workshop will come out with some useful findings that can be dovetailed into the Central Scheme.

Nandita Chatterjee, Secretary, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation said on the occasion that Housing for All by 2022 is a big challenge and there is a need to bring in an integral approach right from the planning to the execution of the projects. She also pointed out that there are a lot of emerging technologies in the housing sector that need to be tapped suitably for affordable and durable houses.

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