In an effort to create a slum-free country by 2020, the government today approved the development of housing and basic facilities in slums across 250 cities in the country.

The decision to launch the first phase of the scheme for affordable housing for slum-dwellers under the Rajiv Awas Yojana was taken at a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

In another decision to woo the poor and backward classes, the government also announced a revision in the 100 per cent Centrally-sponsored scheme of post-matric scholarships for ST students.

Financial assistance will be provided to students who pursued post-matriculation courses through recognised institutions. As per the revised decision, wards of people having income from all sources between Rs 1.45 lakh to Rs 2 lakh per annum would be entitled to these scholarships.

Briefing the reporters after the meeting, Home Minister P Chidambaram said slum development projects under the Rajiv Awas Yojana would be undertaken in 250 cities that have a population of more than one lakh. The project will be undertaken across the country by the end of the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-2017). The scheme aims at helping re-development of slums, stopping proliferation and providing a dignified life besides property rights to the dwellers, Chidambaram said.

As per the decision, the government will bear 50 per cent of the cost of the projects and Rs 1,000 crore will be provided as capital for mortgage guarantee facilities under the scheme. The centre will provide financial assistance to states willing to assign property rights to slum-dwellers for provision of shelter and basic, civic and social services besides creation of affordable housing stock.

Around 32.1 million people live in slums in Indian cities. “They will benefit by way of property rights and access to decent shelters, basic amenities and a dignified life,” a statement issued here said. The scheme was given the go-ahead in accordance with the announcement the government had made in June 2009 with the aim of creating a slum-free India. The government will also encourage private sector participation in the project.

“Credit enablement of the urban poor and the flow of institutional finance for affordable housing is an important component of the scheme,” the statement added. The foundation for the scheme was first laid by the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), which was launched on December 2005 and is the largest national urban initiative to encourage reforms and planned development of 63 identified cities.


The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Main News
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