NEW DELHI (TIP): The Centre has increased the amount for construction of houses for rural poor from Rs 45,000 to Rs 70,000 in plains and Rs 75,000 for those in hilly and difficult areas. The landless would get Rs 20,000 in place of the present Rs 10,000 for buying homestead land. The hike in Indira Awas Yojana came after Cabinet members on Thursday prevailed upon finance minister P Chidambaram who wanted to restrict the proposal from rural development ministry to Rs 65,000 per unit and opposed the hike for buying homestead land.
The issue brought to the fore the difference between the two arms of UPA, with rural development minister Jairam Ramesh telling reporters that finance ministry was overruled by the Cabinet. “The Union Cabinet in its overall collective wisdom decided to increase the amount,” he said. Ramesh cited the agreement signed with Ekta Parishad that stopped marching tribals in Agra in October last year. The protestors were seeking land for the landless and the Centre agreed to bear 75% of the cost for buying homestead land in place of present 50%. There was overwhelming support in the Cabinet for increase in IAY unit cost with Ghulam Nabi Azad, Harish Rawat and Pavan Bansal pitching on other aspects of the debate. Water resources minister Rawat said Rs 75,000 was inadequate for IAY houses in the hills since land was scarce. He demanded that construction cost be decided according to the cost of land.