Fiscal boost to rural housing

Union Minister for Rural Development Birender Singh has pitched for overhauling of the Rural Housing Scheme to provide quality and durable housing. Rs 70,000 for Indira Awaas Yojana is insufficient and he called for raising Central allocation.

Singh said nearly three crore houses would be built in rural areas in seven years and two crore houses in urban areas. But he cautioned officials to build houses that can last 40 years. Speaking at a workshop here on Affordable Rural Housing Technology, he pointed out that in 30 years more than 335 lakh Indira Awaas units were built but half of them were now in a dilapidated condition.

The life span of Indira Awaas is not more than 10 years. So, officials were directed to procure steel, cement and bricks at cheaper rates by providing coal at concessional rates to manufacturers of the housing materials.

The minister welcomed new ideas and solutions to provide affordable rural houses. Minister of State for Rural Development Sudarshan Bhagat lamented that poor quality of houses were built under Indira Awaas Yojana. He also wanted using locally available materials and training of jobless youth in the construction sector.

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