Urban poor to get flats in multi-storeys

By Ravleen Kaur
Published: Thursday 15 October 2009

Minister announces scheme for slum-free India

the central government has decided to rope in private developers to build houses for the urban poor under the Rajiv Awas Yojana (ray) housing scheme. Minister for housing and urban poverty alleviation, Kumari Selja, announced its launch on September 12. She said all city slum dwellers in the country would be eligible for housing under the scheme aimed at making India slum-free in five years.

The slum dwellers would be shifted into multi-storey tenements. The government will give a grant of Rs 100,000-150,000 per flat and subsidy on loan interest. In some cities slum household and livelihood surveys are already on; the ministry has released funds for such surveys in 394 class I cities. All states have been asked to pass legislation to provide property rights to slum dwellers. This has to be followed by an action plan.Selja said there is no cut-off year; all those who settled in slums before December 2009 will be eligible.

The estimated budget for ray has been worked out at Rs 225,000 crore. Construction firms that build houses for the poor will be given land free of cost for commercial ventures or rights to build extra floors in other projects. Vinay Baindur, a Bangalore-based researcher, said the scheme's objective is to create business for developers. "Once the slum-dwellers get shifted, chunks of prime land that gets freed will be gifted away to the developers," he said.

A civil rights activist said the national urban renewal mission has provided housing for only 2.5 per cent poor people in urban areas though on an average every city has 40 per cent population living in slums. He was sceptical about the success of the new scheme.

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