Budget allocation goes up to Rs. 1,430 crore from last year's Rs. 1,194 crore

The housing sector in the State is set to receive a fillip with the government not only increasing the allocation to Rs. 1,430 crore in this year's budget from Rs. 1,194 crore last year but also enhancing subsidies to low-cost State housing projects.

The increase in the State subsidies given to housing projects effectively means that beneficiaries of these schemes would end up paying lesser for the house allotted to them, said Karnataka Housing Board (KHB) commissioner Jayaram S.N.

In the budget announcement, subsidies for housing schemes would be raised to Rs. 75,000 from Rs. 50,000, while per unit cost for house construction would be enhanced to Rs. 1 lakh.

These augmented subsidies would be applicable to those beneficiaries eligible for houses whose construction commences in the 2012-13 under schemes such as Rural and Urban Ashraya Housing Scheme, Dr. Ambedkar Housing Scheme.

Land conversion

Significantly, tahsildars have been empowered to convert agricultural or cultivable land of those who do not own house-sites. In his budget speech, Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda said that this was the first time that such conversion was being allowed with a view to ensuring housing for all.

Another significant allotment in the budget is for developing infrastructure in existing slums. Pegged at Rs. 75 crore this year, it is a marked increase from Rs. 50 crore allotted last year.

Karnataka Slum Development Board (KSDB) has, in 2011-12, completed 24,562 houses under the Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme and Basic Service to Urban Poor scheme. Apart from this, work has been taken up on 17,183 houses which will be completed by December 2012.

The “Namma Mane Yojane” Scheme, which was launched last year wherein beneficiaries were allotted 1,500 plots in Bangalore, would be extended to more places in the State. While 24,562 low-cost houses under schemes of Karnataka Slum Development Board were completed in 2011-12, an additional 17,183 houses would be completed this year.

The creation of a Karnataka Slum Re-Development Policy for the regularisation and redevelopment of slums was announced on Wednesday.

However, there is nothing new in terms of policies to realise the Chief Minister's vision of a slum-free State.

Sources pointed out that these policies would be minor modifications or elaborations of the existing Karnataka Housing and Habitat Policy 2009, which has been awaiting government approval.