Taking its sanitation drive a step further,the government has revised the guidelines of Indira Awas Yojana,making it mandatory for all houses constructed under the scheme to have a toilet. According to the Rural Development Ministry,currently only 21 per cent of IAY houses have toilets.
IAY,launched in 1996,aims at providing housing to the rural poor by helping in construction and upgradation of dwelling units. In the 2013-14 budget,the allocation for the scheme went up to Rs 15,184 crore from Rs 11,075 crore in 2012-13.
The revised guidelines issued earlier this week say additional funds,over and above the unit cost,will be provided to build toilets in IAY houses under the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan. The last instalment of IAY funds will not be released till a toilet has been constructed. The new guidelines revise the overall unit cost from Rs 45,000 to Rs 70,000 and from Rs 48,500 to Rs 75,000 for Naxal-affected,hilly or difficult terrains. Assistance to states to buy land for the landless or homeless has been raised to Rs 20,000 from the current Rs 10,000.
Recognising the delays caused by the complex structure of the scheme,the new guidelines make state governments the nodal authority to receive proposals from district administrations.
Under the new system,the Centre will receive only consolidated district-wise proposals from each state instead of separate ones from each district. From 2014-15,all funds will be sent to the consolidated state fund and each state would be responsible for disbursing them to districts. In case of delay of more than 15 days in transfer of funds by the state to the implementing authority,a penal interest will be charged.
So far,states were supposed to allocate 60 per cent of IAY targets for SCs and STs and 15 per cent for minorities. From this year,the formula has changed because the population of many of these groups is proportionately less than the target for the respective group in several states,who have not had the flexibility to move targets around. Hence,a lot of misreporting has been happening in the last 25 years, Union Rural development Minister Jairam Ramesh said.