Continuing with its focus on rural India, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the rural component of the Housing for All scheme wherein one crore (homeless) households would be given financial assistance to build concrete houses of their own.
Each household living in plain areas would be provided an enhanced financial assistance of Rs 1.2 lakh whereas people living in hilly areas would be given Rs 1.3 lakh for the purpose. Such assistance would be transferred directly to the account of the beneficiaries to be identified on the basis of the latest socio, economic and caste census.
The scheme would be implemented in a span of three years (till 2018-19) and “involves a total expenditure of Rs 81,000 crore to be shared by both the Central and state governments in the ratio of 60:40.”
The urban component of the scheme was already approved on 25 June 2015 and is under implementation. The government has also enhanced the size of each dwelling unit from the existing size of 20 square meters to 25 square meters which would include a dedicated area for hygienic cooking. The beneficiaries would also be provided locally appropriate housing designs, incorporating features to address natural calamities common to that region.
While addressing the joint session of Parliament in May 2014, Prime Minister Modi vowed to provide “every family with a pucca house with water connection, toilet facilities, 24×7 electricity supply and access.”
The government feels that a house is an economic asset and contributes to the upward social mobility with salutary impact on health and educational achievement.
The tangible and intangible benefits flowing from a permanent house are numerous and invaluable to both the family and the local economy.
Analysts feel that the government’s rural housing scheme is set to rejuvenate the construction sector that generates the second largest employment opportunities in India. About 250 ancillary industries derive its demand from the construction sector. Moreover, “the development of rural housing creates jobs for those living in the rural community to meet the new demand in the construction-related professions,” says the government.
It adds that the purchase of building material, the use of services of skilled and unskilled labour, transport services and the consequent flow of financial resources create a positive cycle of economic activities and increases demand in villages.