Make Mumbai ’slum-free’: poverty alleviation minister

August 30th, 2008 - 10:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Aug 30 (IANS) The central minister for poverty alleviation Saturday called upon the Maharashtra government to set aside a Rs.160 billion component in the civic budget for the benefit of the poor and slum dwellers in the city.Speaking at a national seminar on Urban Policy and Aam Aadmi (with special reference to Mumbai metropolitan region) at University of Mumbai in the afternoon, Union Minister for Housing, Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja said the state government should ensure that 20-25 percent of the development area, both by the public and private sector, is earmarked for the poor people.

Selja pointed out the centre would be providing funding for 50 percent of the proposed 500,000 rental homes to be built by the state government for the economically deprived section in Mumbai.

These measures would help make Mumbai a “slum-free” city, she urged.

The minister also said the centre would soon announce a vendors’ policy so that hawkers are not subjected to harassment by the local administration. This would be a Model Act on Vendors’ Policy for framing similar laws at the state levels, she said.

Addressing the seminar, Panchayati Raj and Youth Affairs Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar criticised the bureaucracy for “lack of accountability to the people”.

Aiyar said the administration looked up to superiors instead of reaching out to the poor people.

Towards this end, he said the full implementation of the 74th Amendment on devolution and decentralisation of powers to municipalities and further down to ward levels would lead to real development in urban centres and enable the poor participate in the democratic governance process.

The seminar, in which several state ministers, urban policy experts and others spoke, was organised as part of the Rajiv Gandhi Birthday Anniversary Celebrations.

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