Indira Awaas Yojana Housing is one of the basic requirements for human survival. For a normal citizen owning a house provides significant economic and social security and status in society. For a shelterless person, a house brings about a profound social change in his existence, endowing him with an identity, thus integrating him with his immediate social milieu. A housing programme for the rehabilitation of refugees was taken up immediately after partition by the Ministry of Refugee Rehabilitation and this lasted till around 1960. Approximately 5 lakh families were housed in various centres mainly located in Northern lndia. A Village Housing Scheme was also launched as part of the Community Development Movement in 1957, in which loans to individuals and cooperatives were provided up to a maximum of Rs. 5000/per house. However, only 67000 houses were built under this scheme by the end of the Fifth Plan (1980). In 1972-73, the Estimate Committee of the Lok Sabha in its 37th Report pointed out that ‘‘the Committee is distressed to note that although 83% of India's population lives in villages and about 73% of the rural population reside in unsatisfactory kutcha structures, the problem of rural housing has not received the close attention of the Government’’. Following this, certain initiatives were undertaken by Government including the launching of the House Sites cum Construction Assistance Scheme which began as a Central Scheme in the 4th Plan and was transferred to the State Sector with effect from 1.04.1974 on the recommendation of the National Development Council (NDC). The genesis of the Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) can be traced to the programmes of rural employment, which began in the early 1980s. Construction of houses was one of the major activities under the National Rural Employment Programme (NREP), which began in 1980, and the Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme (RLEGP), which began in 1983. There was, however, no uniform policy for rural housing in the States. For instance, some States permitted only part of the construction cost to be borne from NREP/ RLEGP funds and the balance was to be met by beneficiaries from their savings or loans obtained by them. On the other hand, others permitted the entire expenditure to be borne from NREP/ RLEGP funds. Further, while some states allowed construction of only new dwellings, others permitted renovation of existing houses of beneficiaries. As per announcement made by the Government of India in June 1985, a part of the RLEGP fund was earmarked for the construction of houses for SCs/STs and freed bonded labourers. As a result, Indira Awaas Yojana (lAY) was launched during 1985-86 as a sub-scheme of RLEGP. IAY, thereafter, continued as a sub-scheme of Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY) since its launching in April, 1989. 6% of the total JRY funds were allocated for implementation of lAY. From the year 1993-94, the scope of lAY was extended to cover below the poverty line Non-Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes families in the rural areas. Simultaneously, the allocation of funds for implementing the scheme was raised from 6% to 10% of the total resources available under JRY at the national level, subject to the condition that the benefits to Non-Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes poor should not exceed 4% of the total JRY allocation. IAY was de-linked from JRY and made an independent scheme with effect from 1st January 1996. Since 1999-2000, a number of initiatives have been taken to improve the Rural Housing (RH) Programme by making provision for upgradation of unserviceable kutcha houses and by providing credit with subsidy for certain sections of the poor. Emphasis has also been laid on use of cost affective, disaster resistant and environment friendly technologies in rural housing. Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) is a flagship scheme of the Ministry of Rural Development to provide financial assistance to the BPL households in rural areas for construction of a dwelling unit. The genesis of IAY can be traced to the programmes of rural employment which began in early 1980s. Construction of houses was one of the major activities under the National Rural Employment Programme (NREP) in 1980 and Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme (RLEGP) in 1983. IAY was launched as a sub-scheme of RLEGP and thereafter it continued as a sub-scheme of JRY in 1989. On 1st January 1996, it became an independent scheme. The objective of the scheme is to primarily help the weaker sections in rural areas who belong to Below Poverty Line (BPL) category by granting financial assistance for construction of a pucca house. The funding of the IAY is shared between the Centre and State, in the ratio of 75:25 and in the case of UTs, 100% funding is done by the Government of India. Moreover, in the case of NE States, the funding is shared in the ratio of 90:10. The unit assistance for an IAY house is Rs. 45,000/- per house for plain areas and Rs. 48,500/- for hilly areas w.e.f. 01/04/2010. Rs. 15,000/- is provided for upgradation of the house. Further, the 60 Left Wing Extremesim (LWE) affected districts will be eligible for a higher rate of unit assistance of Rs.48,500/- applicable for all sanctions issued w.e.f 01/04/2010 onwards. In addition to the financial assistance under IAY, an IAY beneficiary can borrow up to Rs. 20, 000/- from any Nationalized Bank at 4% interest per annum to top up the IAY unit assistance under Differential Rate of Interest (DRI) Scheme. For those rural BPL Householders who don’t have house sites, from the year 2009-10, provision has been made to provide house-sites as part of Indira Awaas Yojana. This funding is to be shared between Centre and States in the ratio of 50:50. SALIENT FEATURES OF INDIRA AWAAS YOJANA (IAY) (a) Indira Awaas Yojana is being implemented across the country (except Delhi and Chandigarh) under which financial assistance is provided as Grant-in-Aid to the rural BPL households for construction of a dwelling unit. The ceiling on construction assistance under the Scheme is Rs.45, 000/per unit in the plain areas and Rs.48,500/- in hilly/difficult areas w.e.f. 1.4.2010. For upgradation of kutcha house, the financial assistance is Rs.15,000/- per unit. In addition, IAY houses have been included under the Different Rate of Interest (DRI) scheme for lending upto Rs.20,000 per unit at an interest rate of 4%. Further, the 60 Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected districts will be eligible for a higher rate of unit assistance of Rs.48,500/- applicable for all sanctions issued w.e.f 01/04/2010 onwards. (b) Under the Scheme, financial resources are shared between the centre and the states on a 75:25 basis. In the case of UTs, 100% funding is done by Government of India. However, in the case of North-East States, the funding pattern is in the ratio of 90:10. (c) Since reduction of shelterlessness is the primary objective, 75% weightage is given to housing shortage and 25% to the poverty ratios prescribed by Planning Commission for state level allocation. For district level allocation, 75% weightage is given again to housing shortage and 25% to SC/ST population of the concerned districts. On the basis of allocations made and targets fixed, District Rural Development Agency (DRDAs) Zila Parishads (ZPs) decide Panchayatwise number of houses to be constructed under IAY and intimate the same to the concerned Gram Panchayat. (d) Thereafter, the beneficiaries are selected from the Permanent IAY Waitlists prepared with the approval of respective Gram Sabha. Such Waitlists are prepared out of the BPL List 2002. (e) The available resources under the Scheme in a district are earmarked for various categories as under: (i) At least 60% of the total IAY funds and physical targets should be utilized for construction/upgradation of dwelling units for SC/ST BPL households. (ii) A maximum 40% for non-SC/ST BPL rural households. (iii) IAY funds and physical targets will be earmarked for BPL minorities in each State as indicated by the Ministry. (iv) 3% of the above categories are for physically and mentally challenged persons. If any particular category is exhausted or not available in a district, allocation can be utilized for other categories as per priorities given in the Guidelines. (f) From 2006-07 onwards, funds and physical targets under IAY are also being earmarked for BPL minorities in each State. (g) Further, the dwelling units are invariably allotted in the name of a female member of the beneficiary household. Alternatively, the same can be allotted in the name of both husband and wife. Only in case there is no eligible female member in the family the house is allotted in the name of an eligible male member. (h) The construction of the houses is the sole responsibility of the beneficiary. Engagement of contractors is strictly prohibited. Sanitary latrine and smokeless chullah are required to be constructed alongwith each IAY house. (i) A Task Force was constituted for examining various issues relating to construction of IAY houses including the study to compare the quality of IAY houses in various States. The Task Force has recommended, inter alia, that each State Government should finalise its type designs along with technical and material specifications. It is not necessary to have only one type design and one state can adopt more than one type designs depending upon local conditions. (j) Necessary instructions have been issued to all the DRDAs regarding Convergence of various Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) with IAY. IAY beneficiaries need to get benefits available under Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY), Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC), Janshree and Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana and Differential Rate of Interest (DRI) Scheme etc. (k) The Indira Awaas Yojana is continuously reviewed through Monthly and Annual Reports received from the States/UTs. Senior officers at the level of Deputy Secretaries and above in the Ministry are appointed as Area Officers for different States/UTs. These Area Officers visit the allotted States/UTs from time to time and inspect the actual implementation of the programme in the field. They also participate in the State Level Coordination Committee Meetings providing thereby, a source of effective link between the policy makers, i.e., Government of India and the implementing agencies (States/UT Governments). The programme is also reviewed at the meetings with the State Secretaries of Rural Development and with the Project Directors of DRDAs in the workshops held every year. Provision of Homestead Sites A scheme has been launched on 24th August, 2009 as part of IAY, for providing homestead sites to those rural BPL households whose names are included in the Permanent IAY Waitlists but who have neither agricultural land nor a house site. Rs. 10,000/- per homestead site is being provided under the Scheme the funding of which is shared by the Centre and the States in the ratio of 50:50. The States are also incentivized by allocating additional physical targets equal to the number of homestead sites provided by regularization of existing occupied land, allotment of Government land or purchase/acquisition of lands as the case may be.