New guidelines for Indira Awas Yojna scheme

New Delhi, May 13 (IANS) The government Monday came out with a slew of guidelines for the Indira Awas Yojna scheme for building houses for rural poor, including increased allocations and a requirement for constructing compulsory toilets for each unit.

Seen as a bid to rev up the programme ahead of the general elections next year, the rural development ministry has made building toilets compulsory under the Indira Awas Yojna. The special assistance of Rs.10,000 would be coming from the 'Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan' which is a scheme to provide clean drinking water and sanitation.

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh told reporters that only 21 percent of houses built under the IAY have toilets. "The last instalment under IAY would not be released till toilets are built."

The states have also been issued guidelines to ensure that manual scavengers, freed bonded labourers and particularly vulnerable tribal groups are given preference in allotments.

The ministry will also ask each state government to focus on scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and minorities.

The allocation for each dwelling unit has been increased from Rs.45,000 to Rs.75,000.

In Maoist-affected and mountainous regions, the allocation would now be Rs.75,000 from the existing Rs.48,500. Landless labourers which were given Rs.10,000 for buying land would now be given Rs.20,000, said Ramesh.

Apart from these, a major financial change has been made which is that funds will be given to only consolidated proposals from state governments and not district-level organisations.

"This change has been affected keeping in view the misappropriation of funds in another flagship programme the national rural health mission," Ramesh said.

The minister added that 620 proposals are received every year. From this year, only one consolidated proposal will be received from each state.

The IAY is a flagship scheme of the rural development ministry and aims at addressing rural housing needs by providing grant for construction of dwelling units of BPL families.