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Thrust on ‘Homes for all'


If the proposed rural housing and habitat policy of the Union Rural Development Ministry is any indication, the aam aadmi is once again the focus, to help the poor in the country own durable disaster-resistant structures by 2016-17.

The policy is intended to give a uniform direction to all States in marked contrast to the Indira Awaz Yojana implemented hitherto in select pockets targeting the rural poor. Further, the new policy will not depend entirely on budgetary allocations for funding.

The lessons from the tsunami, floods and other natural disasters have lead to the shift in approach to technically upgraded structures.
Success story

Another motivation for the new thrust planned now is the Orissa success story — Rayagada district model — implemented after the tsunami of December 2004 which rendered many homeless in the States of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa and even in the southern parts of Kerala.

The major focus of the proposed plan will be on:

Land to be provided by the States to the homeless

Flexible financial assistance to be provided by banks and refinance by the National Housing Bank (NHB) through regional rural banks and housing finance companies

A rural housing fund to be set up will form the cornerstone of funding

Legal/ regulatory reforms will be put in place, wherever necessary

Stakeholders identified are panchayats, district administration, State governments, Central government, financial institutions, NGOs, etc. The PPP model will also be examined.

Role of financiers

The NHB alone has schemes to support the building of around four lakh houses every year according to its Chairman and Managing Director, S. Sridhar, affordability being the main consideration.

Micro-finance is another innovation of NHB, under which finance ranging from Rs.50,000 to Rs.1.5 lakh will be made available at an annual interest rate of 6-7 per cent.

A World Bank scheme covering $500 million has already been sanctioned in principle, according to a recent statement from the NHB.

A shift

The rural subsidy mechanism (RSM) will be revisited. Similarly, the product delivery system will be given a fresh angle.

Instead of a housing delivery system, the approach will be ‘habitat delivery,' adopted from the National Rural Housing and Habitat Policy for India, 2007 prepared and proposed by BASIN-South Asia Regional Knowledge Platform.

Most of the recommendations of the committee set up by the Rural Development Ministry have been reportedly adopted in the ‘Housing for all' expression of intent, which is claimed as a first-of-its-kind plan which the UPA Government is going to launch shortly.

- The Hindu Property Plus – 24.07.2010

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