By Atul K. Tiwari : The vision enshrined in the concept of providing a roof to every rural poor, especially those living below the poverty line dates back to 1985 i.e. during the Ninth Five Year Plan, under the ‘Special Action Plan for Social Infrastructure’ when Housing was identified as one of the priority areas which aimed at removing shelterlessness in the rural areas. Considered as one of the components considered to be vital for human survival and, therefore, essential for socio-economic development, the Government has chosen the path of fulfilling the housing requirement of Economically Weaker Sections and Low Income Groups through Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) which is now an essential part of the ambitious Bharat Nirman projects since 2005-06.
According to salient features of Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) the funding of IAY is shared between the Centre and States in the ratio of 75:25. In case of North-East States, the funding ratio between the centre and the States is 90:10 respectively. For Union Territories (UTs), entire funds of IAY are provided by the Centre.
A rural Below Poverty Line(BPL) family is given grant of Rs. 45000/- in plain areas and Rs.48,500/- in hilly/difficult areas for construction of a house. The IAY houses have also been included under the differential rate of interest (DRI) scheme for lending by Nationalized Banks upto Rs.20,000/- per unit at an interest rate of 4% in addition to financial assistance provided under IAY.
The criteria for allocation funds to the States & UTs involves assigning 75% weightage to housing shortage and 25% to poverty ratio. The allocation amongst districts is based on 75% weightage to housing shortage and 25% weightage to SC/ST component. Further, 60% of the IAY allocation is meant for benefiting SC/ST families, 3% for physically handicapped and 15% for minorities.
The dwelling units are invariably allotted in the name of a female member of the beneficiary household. Alternatively, it can be allotted in the name of both husband and wife. In case there is no eligible female member in the family, a house can be allotted to a male member of the family.
Five per cent of the total allocated funds under IAY are kept apart to meet the exigencies arising out of natural calamities and other emergent situations like riot, arson, fire, rehabilitation under exceptional circumstances etc. The State Government have to make necessary recommendation for additional funds in this regard which are to be shared by the Centre and State on 75:25 basis. The upper limit for such assistance is 10% of district’s annual allocation or Rs.70.00 lakh per district whichever is higher in a year.
In order to introduce transparency in selection of beneficiaries permanent IAY waitlists have to be prepared gram panchayat wise by the States/UTs. These lists contain the name of deserving BPL families who need IAY houses in order of their poverty status based on the BPL list 2002.
Sanitary latrine and smokeless chullah are required to be constructed alongwith each IAY house. For construction of sanitary latrine, the beneficiary can avail of the existing assistance from the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC), in addition to the financial assistance provided under Indira Awaas Yojana.
Since inception of the scheme, 238.25 lakh houses have been constructed under Indira Awaas Yojana with an expenditure of Rs.59053.22 crore.
Enhancement in financial assistance for IAY houses
The unit assistance provided to the rural BPL households for construction of a dwelling unit under Indira Awaas Yojana has been revised from 1.4.2010 from Rs.35,000/- to Rs.45,000/- for plain areas and from Rs.38,500/- to Rs.48,500/- for hilly/difficult areas. In addition, the Department of Financial Services have advised the Reserve Bank of India to include the IAY houses under the different rate of interest (DRI) scheme for lending upto Rs.20,000 per housing unit at interest rate of 4%. For upgradation of an existing kutcha house into a pucca/ semi-pacca house, the financial assistance is Rs. 15,000/- across the country.
Change In Funding Pattern Indira Awaas Yojana is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme funded on cost-sharing basis between the Government and the State Governments in the ratio of 75:25. However, in the case of North-Eastern States and Sikkim, cost sharing has been revised in the ratio of 90:10. In the case of Union Territories, the entire funds under this Scheme are provided by the Central Government.
Change In Guidelines For Assistance For Natural Calamities The maximum limit for providing financial assistance out of 5% IAY funds meant for natural calamity has been enhanced from existing 10% of the district’s annual allocation or Rs. 50.00 lakh to 10% of the district’s annual allocation or Rs. 70.00 lakh per district (including State’s share) whichever is higher in a year.
Earmarking of funds for BPL Minorities From the year 2006-07, IAY funds and physical targets are being earmarked for construction of houses of rural BPL minorities.
Allotment of Homestead Plot As per estimates made by the Ministry on the basis of NSSO report 58th and 59th round, there are 7.7 million rural BPL household who do not have a house site in the country. For the poorest of the poor who are landless and do not have house sites, provision of homestead site is essential to enable them to fulfill their need for shelter and avail benefit under various government housing schemes. Accordingly, as part of Indira Awaas Yojana scheme to provide homestead sites to the rural BPL households was launched in August, 2009. Under this scheme a homestead site of 100-250 sq.mt. will be provided to those rural BPL households who have neither land nor a housesite. For this purpose, Rs. 10,000/- per beneficiary will be provided to the DRDAs which will be shared by the Centre and the States in the ratio of 50:50. Under this scheme, funds have since been released to Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan and Sikkim.
Bharat Nirman Program Rural Housing is one of the six components of Bharat Nirman Programme. Under Bharat Nirman Program Phase-I, 60 lakh houses were envisaged to be constructed through Indira Awaas Yojana all over the country during the four years i.e. from 2005-06 to 2008-2009. Against this target, 71.76 lakh houses were constructed with an expenditure of Rs.21720.39 crore. It has now been proposed to double this target and to construct 120 lakh houses during the next five years period starting from the current year 2009-10.
Convergence of various Centrally Sponsored Schemes with IAY
For convergence of various Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) with IAY necessary instructions have been issued to all the DRDAs. IAY beneficiaries can get the benefits available under Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY), Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC), Janshree and Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana and Differential Rate of Interest (DRI) Scheme etc.
Under RGGVY each IAY beneficiary can get a free electricity connection to his house, under TSC an IAY beneficiary who will construct a sanitary latrine will get an amount of Rs.2200/- from TSC funds in addition to the unit assistance under IAY, all willing IAY beneficiaries can get the benefits available under Janshree Bima and Aam Aadmi Bima policies, under DRI, an IAY beneficiary can borrow up to Rs.20,000/- from any Nationalized Bank at 4% interest per annum to top up the unit assistance under IAY.
The provision of shelter and hence the roof to every rural poor has been and will continue to be a major component of the poverty alleviation measures of the Government in times to come. Consequently the Ministry Of Rural Development has hiked its target to double the construction of houses for the rural poor from 60 lakh in the first phase of Bhart Nirman (2005-09) to 1.20 crore housing units in the second phase of Bharat Nirman from(2009-12). It is expected that the initiative would meet the shortfall of housing units in the rural areas and provide a roof to live in with dignity.