RAY envisages a ‘Slum-free India’, where every
slum dweller and urban poor will have access to basic
civic and social services and decent shelter. It will
bring existing slums within the formal system and enable
them to avail the same level of basic amenities as the
rest of the town; redressing the failures of the formal
system that lie behind the creation of slums; and tackling
the shortages of urban land and housing that keeps shelter
out of reach of the urban poor.
Speaking at the conference Kumari Selja pointed out that
RAY has been designed with a “vision of creating
a Slum- Free India – an India comprising of inclusive
and equitable cities, where every citizen has access to
the basic civic and social services and decent shelter.”
Bringing in the comparison between the number of people
staying in the urban and rural areas in India the Minister
said that the urban population of India will double itself
over the next two decades and around 31.16% of the total
population will stay in the urban areas. She said, “Rajiv
Awas Yojana has the potential to radically transform the
urban landscape of India and the living conditions of
the urban poor.”
To address the growing needs of urbanisation, Jawaharlal
Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) was launched
in 2005. She added, “This mission made massive capital
outlays for both city infrastructures as well as for integrated
slum development and provision of basic services. Under
the components of integrated slum housing and provision
of basic services, my Ministry is supporting construction
of about 16 lakh houses across the country at a cost of
Rs 40,000 Crores and the feedback and response from the
States and the experience from JNNURM have been important
inputs into the design of RAY.”
As in JNNURM, the central assistance is conditional to
reforms by the states. The reforms required here are directly
linked to the objectives of the scheme, and necessary
for the scheme to be successful. These reforms include
the enactment of law and the assignment of property rights,
as also reforms to policy to ease the land and affordable
housing shortages, due to which we see this rapid proliferation
She further added, “The first set of reforms are
related to legal empowerment of the poor, with the bedrock
being the commitment and willingness of the State to assign
property rights to Slum Dwellers through a legislation.
The other reforms in this category are the other pro-poor
reforms of JNNURM. These are, earmarking of 25% of the
municipal budget into a non-lapsable fund for the urban
poor and the earmarking of 20-25% of developed land for
EWS and LIG housing.” She requested the states to
address the reforms holistically by proper planning, institutional
monitoring and adequately incentivising the private sector.
The minister assured her colleagues from the states that
RAY would be executed as a “partnership between
communities, urban local bodies, state governments and
the Government of India”. She also added that the
government will be establishing a new policy instrument
called ‘Credit Risk Guarantee Fund’ to work
in tandem with RAY. “This fund is expected to catalyse
upto Rs. 20,000 crores of credit for housing in the coming
years”, she added.
The scheme is expected to begin in 250 cities which have
an estimated 32.10 million people living in slums. They
will benefit by way of property rights and access to decent
shelter, basic amenities and a dignified life. The inclusive
city growth process will lead to enhancement of productivity
at the bottom of the pyramid and will sustain the contribution
of cities to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Central Government will bear 50% of the costs of slum
redevelopment. To encourage creation of affordable housing
stock, the existing schemes of Affordable Housing in Partnership
and Interest Subsidy Scheme for Housing the Urban Poor
have been dovetailed into RAY. To encourage private sector
participation in slum redevelopment, Central Government
assistance can be used by the states and cities towards
viability gap funding.
Mr. Arun Maira, member Planning Commission who spoke on
the occasion highlighted the need to demonstrate innovative
and replicable models involving all Stakeholders and also
said community participation is a sine quo non for the
success of RAY.
The conference was attended by State Ministers, Principal
Secretaries / Secretaries of the concerned State departments,
Mayor of Kolkata, Representatives from Central government
departments like Defence, Civil Aviation, Environment,
Health etc, Eminent NGOs, eminent experts and academia.
Eminent social workers such Madhu Kishwar, Sheela Patel,
Vasimalai also welcomed the bold steps of the GOI in launching
the path-breaking initiative and stressed the need to
involve the communities from the planning stage till execution
and post maintenance.
The states welcomed the initiatives taken by the Central
Government and expressed support for the new programme.
Focus was on larger cities, states requested that programme
should be extended to smaller cities as well. The representatives
from special categories states highlighted the need to
keep in view special environment requirements while framing
norms under projects. States also highlighted need to
closely integrate livelihood opportunities into the programme
and also wanted to have liberal financial norms given
the fund constraints of states/ ULBs.
The Minister of HUPA&C also released two statistical
compendiums on Housing in India and Slums in India- 2011
and RAY guidelines.
Concluding the one day deliberations Kumari Selja reiterated
that RAY in a joint venture between Centre, State and
ULBs with communities as a central driving force to achieve
the ambitious objective of slum free India.