Kumari Selja Inaugurates Workshop on Integrated and Sustainable Urbanization at Shimla
The Union Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister Kumari Selja has said that her Ministry has sanctioned 8 projects for Himachal Pradesh with the total project cost of Rs.79.35 Crore covering 2252 houses for the poor under BSUP & IHSDP. This involves Central Grant of about Rs. 55.34 Crore. Inaugurating a workshop on integrated and sustainable urbanization at Shimla today, she said, an additional support of Rs. 50 Crores has been provided for Himachal Pradesh under the Scheme of Affordable Housing in Partnership.
Here is the full text of the Minister’s speech:
“I feel glad to be in your midst today. As you know, Housing is one of the three fundamental requirements of humanity next only to food and clothing. Housing sector has been receiving attention of the Government for quite sometime now and has also got a substantial boost over the years with focus on housing development all over the country. Increasing urbanization is emerging as the most pervasive and dominant challenge for our country. Cities and towns are centres of agglomeration economies, investments, technology, innovation, economic growth and tertiary jobs. If urbanization has to act as a positive force in economic development, we should avoid the past mistakes and aim at an urban and regional planning system that is inclusive and does not exclude the poor and the informal sector. Promoting sustainable cities through the provision of adequate housing and civic amenities, especially to the poor, is one of the fundamental issues confronting us.
It gives me great satisfaction to say that for the first time in the history of the country, the UPA Government laid focus on providing “makaan” to the common man in cities and towns. The UPA Government conceived and embarked upon a massive programme of affordable housing and basic amenities to the urban poor under the flagship programme, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), launched in December 2005. Under JNNURM, we have so far sanctioned projects for construction of about 15 lakh houses and basic amenities to the urban poor. Now, we have launched another scheme called Affordable Housing in Partnership to encourage partnerships between Government agencies, parastatals, local bodies and the private developers. Under this new scheme we are targeting another 10 lakh houses, not only covering EWS and LIG but also MIG.
As you may be aware, under JNNURM we support 4 programmes. Urban Infrastructure & Governance and Basic Services to the Urban Poor cover 65 identified cities, including Shimla. Urban Infrastructure Scheme for Small & Medium Towns and Integrated Housing & Slum Development Programme focus on small and medium towns. As far as my Ministry is concerned, we have sanctioned projects for housing and basic amenities to the urban poor, including slum-dwellers worth Rs.36000 crores. We have committed Additional Central Assistance of about Rs. 19,900 Crores. The houses under JNNURM will come with ownership of house in the name of the wife or husband and wife jointly and with provision of basic services such as water, sanitation, social security, education and health care. The poor will be enabled to attain the same quality of life as the other population of the city.
My Ministry has sanctioned 8 projects for Himachal Pradesh with the total project cost of Rs.79.35 Crore covering 2252 houses for the poor under BSUP & IHSDP. This involves Central Grant of about Rs. 55.34 Crore. We have recently provided an additional support of Rs. 50 Crores for Himachal Pradesh under the Scheme of Affordable Housing in Partnership. Once project report is received, we will sanction the amount.
Recently, my Ministry has sanctioned Rs. 35 crores for setting up of a Regional Institute for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation at Himachal Pradesh for training, capacity building and research work in order to upgrade the institutional and human resource capacity in the fields of inclusive urban planning, urban governance, town planning and preparation of City Development Plans for improved urban management and better implementation of programmes for the urban poor.
The projects for housing and basic amenities to the urban poor in Himachal Pradesh were sanctioned to enable the Government of Himachal Pradesh to attain the broader goal of making Himachal Pradesh slum-free and ensure that the urban poor are provided with the basic amenities they need.
I am happy to announce that the UPA Government has resolved to introduce a new scheme called Rajiv Awas Yojana for the slum dwellers and the urban poor. The Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) would extend support to States/UTs that are willing to assign property rights to people living in slum areas. UPA Government's effort would be to create a Slum free India in five years through the Rajiv Awas Yojana. The Rajiv Awas Yojana will provide a new RAY hope for our cities and towns, especially to the poor, slum-dwellers and disadvantaged sections of the urban society. I urge the Minister to work out plan for Slum-free Himachal Pradesh where all the poor residents would own a home and access basic services. I also urge that all the slum dwellers are provided with property rights and enabled to lead a life with dignity.
In addition to JNNURM and the newly announced Rajiv Awas Yojana, my Ministry is working on several initiatives for the urban poor. We have revamped the Swarna Jayanti Shahri Rozgar Yojana with focus on empowerment of women’s self-help groups, entrepreneurship development for self-employment, micro-enterprises, micro-finance, community mobilization and capacity building. The budget for the scheme has been hiked by the UPA Government from Rs. 250 Crores in 2006-07 to Rs. 564 Crores in 2010-11. To focus on skill development and employability of the poor, the Government of India has announced National Skill Development Mission. The Mission will focus on development of modern skills and training to enable the poor to access remunerative jobs opened up by globalizing urban economies.
We have also revised the National Policy on Street Vendors’ 2004 in order to enable the street vendors carry out their trade without harassment from various authorities. The new Street Vendors Policy 2009 and Model Law on Street Vendors 2009 have been circulated to all State and UT Governments. I have urged the Ministers to implement the new Street Vendors Policy to give a new deal to the street vendors. Master Plan must provide legal space for street vending. The Town Vending Committee must have at least 40% members from the street vendors themselves. The vendors must be enabled to carry out business in a hassle free and legal manner.
I am happy to inform you that we have launched an Interest Subsidy Scheme for Housing the Urban Poor. Under this scheme, the urban poor will be able to get loans from banks and other institutions at interest 5% lower than the market rate of interest to build their houses. I urge that the Government of Himachal Pradesh takes steps to avail benefit from the scheme.
I hope the machinery of the State Government would ensure that the benefits of JNNURM and other schemes reach the urban poor, especially the youth and women. These programmes have to be implemented in convergence with other Government of India initiatives. The issues of quality healthcare, primary education, social security etc. will have to be addressed by converging urban poverty alleviation programmes with the schemes of Health, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana, Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme, National Social Assistance Programme including Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme, Integrated Child Development Scheme, Janani Suraksha Yojana etc. I assure that the Government of India will extend full support to the Government of Himachal Pradesh to implement programmes for the poor and disadvantaged sections.
I assure you on this occasion that my Ministry shall continue to render its best cooperation for sanction of new projects here in future also. I would request the State Government to ensure that the beneficiaries are also covered under skill development and employment generation support programmes under SJSRY.
Let us all work together with enthusiasm and dedication to make Urban India Slum-free and Poverty-free as quickly as possible.”