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With eye on poll, Centre hikes funds for Indira Awas scheme by Rs 25,000

With an eye on elections, the Centre on Monday hiked by Rs 25,000 the monetary assistance under its housing scheme for the poor, giving primacy to scheduled castes, tribals and minorities. Under the new guidelines for the Indira Awas Yojana notified Monday, the Centre also decided to transfer its share of the funding to the state governments directly instead of allocating it to the districts.

‘The cost of a 250 sq ft housing unit is now Rs 70,000 as against Rs 45,000 earlier. For Naxal affected districts and hill states the per unit cost has been hiked to Rs 75,000 from Rs 48,500,’ said rural development minister Jairam Ramesh. He said the centre has also doubled the assistance given to states for procuring a homestead site for the landless poor from Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000.

Emphasising on the need for building toilets, Ramesh said that  only 21 per cent houses built under IAY had toilets, Ramesh said under the revised guidelines, building a toilet along with the IAY unit has been made mandatory. ‘The last instalment under the scheme would not be released until a toilet is built along with the house,’ informed the minister.

‘We have seen the NRHM scandal in Uttar Pradesh. We do not want any scams in the IAY,’ said Ramesh.

For 2013-14, the Centre has set a target to build 30 lakh housing units with more than one-third planned to come up in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Bihar, with 7.3 lakh housing units, is the biggest beneficiary of the IAY scheme this fiscal followed by Uttar Pradesh (3.6 lakh), West Bengal (2.3 lakh), Andhra Pradesh (2.5 lakh), Maharashtra and Assam (1.7 lakh each), Madhya Pradesh (1.4 lakh), Odisha (1.6 lakh), Gujarat (1.3 lakh) Karnataka (1.1 lakh).
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