Rural Development Min for Doubling Allocation to Villagers for Homes
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The Union Rural Development Ministry has suggested doubling the amount of financial assistance offered to villagers to build homes saying the current allocation of Rs 70,000 was "insufficient."

A paper on National Gramin Awaas Mission (GRAM) prepared by the ministry on housing said the amount should be Rs 1.5 lakh.

"At present the unit assistance is found to be insufficient. Unit assistance needs to be increased to Rs 1.5 lakh or so in plain areas or a little higher in difficult /hilly areas with the toilet becoming an integral part of the house," says the discussion on GRAM, a rechristened version of Indira Awas Yojana.

At present, unit assistance is Rs 70,000 (Rs 75,000 in difficult areas).

It emphasises the need for building stronger houses which can withstand "wear and tear and weather factors" for at least a period of 30 years in rural areas.

The paper says that at present the unit size is fixed at a minimum of 20 sq mt which is too small for a household and needs to be increased to at least 30 sq mt to provide enough space for the household and livelihood activities.

According to it, "The construction of 20 lakh houses during the current year, at a unit cost of Rs 1.5 lakh would require funds of Rs 21,840 crore -- Rs 6,940 crore over and above the existing outlay of Rs 16,000 crore."

"A target of 3.20 crore houses can be covered, in a period of nine years with an annual target of 25 lakh houses and fund requirements of Rs 27,300 crore," it says.

Indira Awaas Yojana was launched in June, 1985 as a sub- scheme of Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme and later became a component of Jawahar Rozgar Yojana.

It became an independent scheme in 1996. Rs 82,780 crore has been spent for the construction of 2.91 crore houses since then. The scheme was continued in the 12th Five Year Plan with an outlay of Rs 59,585 crore.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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