Source: The Economic Times
The government may soon come up with a National Housing Mission to fulfil Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of homes for all by 2022, when India completes 75 years of Independence.
The plan, to be prepared by the ministries of rural development and urban development along the lines of the cleanliness initiative known as Swachh Bharat Mission, will subsume existing housing schemes, which were started by the previous Congress-led UPA government.
The government is working towards a national housing scheme, to be implemented in mission mode, to build about 60 lakh houses annually over the next seven years in rural India, a senior government official told ET.
The proposed National Gramin Awas Mission (GRAM) of the rural development ministry, which is likely to replace the Indira Awas Yojana, could become the guiding scheme for constructing houses in rural areas where 70% of the population lives. Finance minister Arun Jaitley said in his Budget speech on Saturday that the government would build 6 crore houses – 2 crore in urban areas and the remainder in rural areas.
The Union Budget 2015-16 has allocated Rs 14,000 crore for the programme, which will work towards housing for all, including Rs10,000 crore to Indira Awas Yojana, while there is no allocation for Rajiv Awas Yojana, the urban housing scheme.
As per the proposal for GRAM, the cost per house is expected to go up to Rs 1.1 lakh and the area would increase to 30 sq metres, including toilets. Each house would also get supply of water and electricity. The proposal, which is pending with the finance ministry due to the large amount of funds required, has pegged the cost of building 3 crore houses at Rs 3.45 lakh crore over the next seven years. The spending would be equivalent to almost Rs 50,000 crore a year, exceeding the allocation for rural employment generation schemes.
The objective is to include all rural families, currently without a proper house, under the new scheme. The Indira Awas Yojana covers only families below the poverty line. As of now, the government gives agrant of Rs 70,000 for the construction of each new house of 20 sq metres in the plains and Rs 75,000 for units in the hills and difficult terrain. However, construction of toilets and provision of water and electricity are optional. The Indira Awas Yojana has been operational since 1985 and about 3.25 crore rural houses have been built at an investment of Rs 1 lakh crore.