Plan to provide cheap houses to urban poor

September 28th, 2011 - 12:16 am ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Sep 27 (IANS) With a view to tackle urban poverty and providing affordable housing to the poor, the central government is planning to introduce the ‘National Urban Livelihood Mission’ during the 12th Five Year Plan.

Announcing this here Tuesday, union Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister Kumari Selja said Tuesday that cities were catalysts of economic growth and their importance was underlined by the fact that more than 60 percent of the country’s GDP (gross domestic product) was contributed by them.

“We need to assess and plan for a pattern of inclusive, equitable and sustainable growth since tackling urban poverty is a top agenda of the government,” she said, inaugurating a Conclave on Urban Poverty Alleviation and Rajiv Awas Yojana here.

“The experience of JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission) enabled us to design Rajiv Awas Yojana, a scheme which envisions a slum-free India, through the legal empowerment of slum dwellers by granting them legal right to dwelling space,” Kumari Selja said.

Stressing on the problems of housing shortage for the urban poor as an issue affecting inclusive growth, the minister pointed out that presently, there was a shortage of 6.53 million dwelling units in the country, of which nearly half - 3.72 million dwelling units - was in Maharashtra alone.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said land was a scarce resource in Mumbai and urged the central government to come out with a concrete plan to remove encroachment.

He suggested that if the huge tracts of land lying under salt pans were opened up for development, the pressure on land in Mumbai could ease a bit.

The conclave was attended by mayors of selected cities, officials of central and state government, NGOs, the banking sector and academia.

Joan Clos, former mayor of Barcelona, Spain, and executive director of UN-Habitat was a special invitee.

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