New Delhi: Government Wednesday decided to construct 2.95 crore houses in rural areas under its ambitious Housing for All by 2022 scheme.
The Union Cabinet, in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its nod for the implementation of the rural component of the scheme.
The government will have to spend nearly Rs 81,975 crore over construction of the one crore houses in the first three years of the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Gramin under which it will provide financial assistance of Rs 1.20 lakh to those living in plain areas and Rs 1.30 lakh to those in "hilly and difficult" areas.
Terming it a "very important decision", Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said there could be an anticipated variation of 10 per cent in total number of houses to be constructed.
The scheme would be implemented in rural areas throughout the country except Delhi and Chandigarh. The cost of houses would be shared between the Centre and the states.
"An amount of Rs 81,975 crore will be needed to construct one crore houses between 2016-17 and 2018-19 out of which Rs 68,000 crore will be provided by budgetary provisions," Prasad told reportes after the Cabinet meeting.
He said the rest Rs 21,975 crore will come from borrowing through National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to be amortised through budgetary allocations after 2022.
The Union Cabinet had in June last year approved the launch of the 'Housing for All by 2022' programme for the rehabilitation of slum-dwellers and promotion of affordable housing for the urban poor, targeting to provide nearly 20 million houses over seven years.
Today, the Cabinet gave its nod for rural component of the plan, using the Socio Economcic Caste Census (SECC)-2011 data for identification of beneficiaries.
The programme is a key promise in the Bharatiya Janata Party's manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 ? a "pucca" house for every family by 75th anniversary of the independence.
The scheme envisages setting up a National Technical Support Agency at the national level to provide support in achieving the target set under the project.
Prasad expressed confidence that there will be total transparency and objectivity in identification of beneficiaries eligible for assistance and their prioritisation through this scheme.
Prasad said the financial assistance has been enhanced this time.
"The cost of unit assistance to be shared between Central and state governments is in the ratio 60:40 in plain areas and 90:10 for north-eastern and hilly states," the minister said.
Under the existing Rural Housing Scheme (Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY)) implemented by Ministry of Rural Development, financial assistance of Rs 70,000 in plain areas and Rs 75,000 in hilly and difficult areas including IAP districts is provided to the rural BPL households for construction of a dwelling unit.
Integrated Action Plan (IAP) is aimed at developing tribal and backward districts in Left Wing Extremism-affected areas.
"Since inception of the IAY, 351 lakh houses have been constructed, incurring a total expenditure of Rs 1,05,815.80 crore. The new scheme will be a substantial augmentation of housing effort in rural areas while ensuring quality of the houses constructed.
"This proposal prepared by Department of Rural Development is to restructure the current programme on rural housing to achieve this objective to provide pucca house to all who are houseless and living in dilapidated houses. The urban component has already been approved on June 25, 2015 and is under implementation," the statement said.
In the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Gramin, the gram sabhas will have a role in the final say on beneficiaries as the list identified through the SECC will be presented to them to find out beneficiaries who have been assisted before or have become ineligible due to other reasons.
Funds will be transferred electronically directly to the account of the beneficiary while the inspection and uploading of geo-referenced photographs will be done though a mobile app. Beneficiary will also be able to track the progress of his payments through the app, an official statement said.
The beneficiary under the scheme is entitled to 90 days of unskilled labour from MGNREGA. This will be ensured through a server linkage between Prime Minister's Awas Yojana and MGNREGA.
The scheme envisages to meet the additional requirement of building materials through manufacturing of bricks using cement stabilised earth or fly ash under MGNREGA.
The beneficiary would also have an option to avail loan of up to Rs 70,000 for the construction of the house. Support will be provided at district and block levels for technical facilitation and addressing quality issues in house construction.
Prasad expressed confidence that the scheme will create employment in the rural areas.