Cabinet approves slum development in 250 cities (Lead)

June 2nd, 2011 - 4:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, June 2 (IANS) The Indian government Thursday approved the development of housing and basic facilities in slums across 250 cities with the aim to create a slum-free country by 2020.

The decision to launch the first phase of the scheme for affordable housing for the slum dwellers was taken at the cabinet meeting Thursday, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

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. It will be undertaken across the entire country by the end of 12th Five Year Plan 2012-2017.

The scheme aims to help re-develop slums, stop their proliferation and provide a dignified life and property rights to the dwellers, Chidambaram said.

The government will bear 50 percent of the cost of the projects, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs decided.

Chidambaram said Rs.1,000 crore will be provided as capital for mortgage guarantee facilities under the scheme.

An estimated 32.10 million people live in slums in Indian cities. “They will benefit by way of property rights and access to decent shelter, basic amenities and a dignified life,” a statement issued here said.

The scheme was given a go-ahead in accordance with the announcement the government had made in June 2009 with the single aim of creating a slum-free India.

Under the scheme, the centre will provide financial assistance to states that are willing to assign property rights to slum dwellers for provision of shelter and basic civic and social services for slum redevelopment, and for creation of affordable housing stock, the statement said.

The government said the idea is also to encourage private sector participation in slum redevelopment. “Credit enablement of the urban poor and the flow of institutional finance for affordable housing is an important component of the scheme,” it added.

It said that 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 fast track planned development of 63 identified cities.

“As in JNNURM, the central assistance is conditional to reforms by the states. The reforms required here are directly linked to the objectives of the scheme, and necessary for the scheme to be successful,” the statement said.

“The inclusive city growth process will lead to enhancement of productivity at the bottom of the pyramid and will sustain the contribution of cities to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” it added.

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