The Centre has decided to grant land patta and occupancy right of dwelling units in the name of a woman member of the beneficiary household under the Rajiv Awas Yojana for slum dwellers and the urban poor. Alternatively, property rights can be allotted in the name of both wife and husband.
Launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, the Yojana aims at making India slum-free in the next five years. Targeting “inclusive growth,” the scheme will support States that are willing to assign property rights to people living in slums for provision of shelter and basic infrastructure and civic amenities.
The initiative of granting property rights to women is reported to have been taken by Congress president Sonia Gandhi just before the draft was sent to the Planning Commission.
It is expected to be cleared shortly, highly placed sources in the Ministry told The Hindu.
A token allocation of Rs. 150 crore has been made in the current year’s Plan just to gear the States for the scheme.
The scheme is aimed at improving the quality of life of slum dwellers, including the economically and socially deprived sections. This includes upgrading the existing slums and preventing creation of new ones.
The Centre will provide model legislation for the States to implement the scheme. However, if any State wants to adopt the existing models to implement the scheme, it can do so.
The scheme aims at empowering the beneficiary community in the decision-making process so that a slum-free India can become a mass movement or ‘Jan Andolan’.
The National Sample Survey Organisation’s 61st round data reveals that about 81 million people lived below the poverty line in 2004-05. While the number of the poor in rural areas declined by about 231 lakh between 1993-94 and 2004-05, in urban areas it increased by about 44 lakh.
A large part of the rise in the urban population occurred in slums due to a natural increase and inability of migrants to find space except in slums. The slum population in the country is estimated to have gone up from 46 million in 1991 to 62 million in 2001. As revealed by the Slum Census conducted by the Registrar-General of India in 640 towns in 2001, about 23.5 per cent of the urban population there in slums.