A year after it was announced, the Centre is yet to finalise the guidelines of Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY), the UPA government’s programme to make India slum free.
The delay has now raised questions about the successful utilization of Rs 1,270 crore, which was sanctioned in this year’s budget for implementing the housing programme for urban poor. Officials of the Ministry of Housing and Poverty Alleviation are apprehensive that the budget might have to be surrendered to the government if it is not used before March 31, 2011.
“The delay will affect the utilization of fund sanctioned for RAY. But we are hopeful that the Centre would finalise the guidelines soon,” said a ministry official.
This would not be the first time the ministry may have to surrender funds, sanctioned for RAY. “Last year also Rs 120 crore was sanctioned for the project but we could utilise just Rs 60 crore and surrender the remaining amount as schemes meant for RAY were not in place,” said the official.
India is home to 61.8 million slum dwellers (Census 2001). Among other things, RAY has proposed a multi-pronged approach like according property rights to slum dwellers. It is for the first time that a programme addressing the slum issue has talked about according property rights to slum dwellers. The Centre, respective state government’s and private players would share the funding for RAY.