To meet the shortage of housing in rural areas, a programme called Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) was launched in May 1985 as a sub-scheme of Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY). It is being implemented as an independent scheme since 1 January 1996 and is the flagship programme for rural housing. The Indira Awaas Yojana aims at providing assistance to rural people below the poverty-line belonging to Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes, freed bonded labourers and non- scheduled castes/scheduled tribes categories for the construction of dwelling units and upgradation of existing unserviceable kutcha houses by providing grants-in-aid.
Once the annual allocations are made and physical targets decided, the district panchayat/District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) decide the Panchayatwise number of houses to be constructed/upgraded under IAY, during a particular financial year. Targets are intimated to the concerned Gram Panchayats. Thereafter, the Gram Sabha selects the beneficiaries from the list of eligible BPL households, restricting this number to the target allotted as per the programme guidelines. Selection of beneficiary by the Gram Sabha is final. No approval by any higher body is required. Zilla Parishads/ DRDAs and Block Development Officers are informed accordingly to provide assistance to selected beneficiaries. To ensure transparency and efficiency in the allotment of houses under the scheme the permanent waitlist for IAY at Gram Panchayat level based on the BPL census of 2002 has also been initiated.
Under the Scheme, allotment of the house is done in the name of the female members of the households or in the joint names of husband and wife. A minimum of 60 per cent of funds are to be utilised for construction of houses for SCs/STs. Sanitary latrine and smokeless chulhas are also provided to the beneficiaries. Selection of construction technology, materials and design is left entirely to the choice of beneficiaries. The ceiling on assistance for construction of new houses has been increased from Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 25,000 per unit for the plain areas and from Rs. 22,000 to Rs. 27,500 per unit for the hilly/difficult areas with effect from 1 April 2004. The upper limit in respect of conversion of kutcha houses into semi-pucca houses (Upgradation) has also been increased from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 12,500 per unit from the same date and up to 20 per cent of IAY funds can be utilised for this purpose.
Around 143.13 lakh houses have been constructed/upgraded from 198586 to 2005-2006 (As per reports received up to April 2006) under the Scheme with an expenditure of about Rs. 26305.08 crore.
The Central Allocation for rural housing during 2004-2005 was Rs. 2500 crore, out of which an amount of Rs. 2460.67 crore was allocated for IAY with a target of building about 15.62 lakh houses. The entire amount was released and about 15.21 lakh houses have been reported constructed/upgraded.
An allocation of Rs. 2750 crore was made available during 2005-2006 for Rural Housing. For Indira Awaas Yojana, an amount of Rs. 2732.40 crore was allocated for construction/upgradation of 14.41 lakh houses during 2005-2006. Against this, an amount of Rs. 2738.22 crore has been released and 15.52 lakh houses have been constructed in the year as per reports received from the States.
As construction of houses for the rural poor is a significant activity of asset creation in rural areas and contributes substantially towards the concept of Bharat Nirman, this has been included as one of the six components of the ‘Bharat Nirman’ Programme. Under this programme sixty lakh houses are to be constructed for rural BPL families during a span of four years beginning from 2005-06.