New Delhi: The government is preparing a Bill to provide homes to the shelterless in rural areas of the country.
The draft of the National Right to Homestead Bill, 2013 to ensure that every shelterless poor family in rural areas has a right to a home and a piece of land of not less than 10 cents area is almost ready for inter-ministerial consultation, sources said. A cent is a measure of area and equals 1/100 of an acre.
The draft Bill says that the right to home should be enforced within a time period as specified and in accordance with the plans to be made at the state-level and the district levels for the purpose.
It is the outcome of a 10-point agreement signed in Agra in October last year between the Centre and Gandhian activist P V Rajagopal of Ekta Parishad who had led an agitation of the landless poor.
Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, who had signed the agreement on behalf of the Centre, had promised to initiate land reforms.
Accepting the government`s promises to initiate land reform and the possibility of statutory backing for the right to shelter, homestead and agricultural land, thousands of landless poor had ended their march to Delhi.
According to the government, the poorest and most vulnerable among the rural families are those who are landless and shelterless and millions of rural household have no house of their own.
Through its various judgements, the Supreme Court has said that the issue of a roof over one`s head needs to be seen as a basic human right, and a fundamental right that guarantees dignity to an individual.
The government hopes that a homestead of 10 cents area provided to a poor shelterless family shall help in enabling the family build a shelter and take up supplementary livelihood activities such as backyard poultry, goat-rearing, horticulture and vegetable cultivation.
It also feels that a law to guarantee minimum space to build the house and carryout supplementary livelihood activities is imperative and such a law also is in pursuance of the constitutional mandate to endeavour to eliminate inequalities in status.