But loan aid for housing scheme is cut

The Department of Local Self Government has released the subsidy guidelines for the 12 five year plan, allowing the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation to proceed to the final stages of formulating schemes.

One point of import for the Corporation officials is the subsidy allotted for housing. The subsidy for a unit under the EMS housing scheme has been almost doubled — to Rs.2 lakh for those in the general category and Rs.2.5 lakh for the Scheduled Caste category. However, the scheme will no longer be loan-linked. “We used to take loans from cooperative banks and pay them back using our Plan Fund resources,” says V.S. Padmakumar, Chairman of the Works Standing Committee in the council. The snapping of the link implies that the funding has to be entirely from the Plan fund of Rs.96 crore for 2012-2013, he says.

Deputy Mayor G. Happykumar says the new provisions have two sides. “The doubling of subsidy is good news, but the flip side is that there is no loan assistance.” This, he says, can bring down the number of beneficiaries significantly.

UDF councillors, on the other hand, claim that the decision was unlikely to be adversely impact the scheme, which had many loopholes in the first place. They also note that subsidies for certain fields, particularly sanitation, have risen. The formulation of schemes is expected to be over in a month or two.