Millions of landless Indians who live in urban shanty towns may soon get a house to call home, according to a new model law that has been given the go-ahead by the UPA government.
The housing and urban poverty alleviation ministry has recently finalised the "Model Property Rights to Slum Dwellers Act, 2011" which, once enacted by states, would for the first time give every landless slum dweller living in an urban area ownership rights to a "dwelling place".
Under the act, a slum dweller would be provided a minimal dwelling space of 24 square metre.The price per unit of house is yet to be finalised but ministry officials said that it would be affordable. Of the total cost, about 10-15% would be borne by the beneficiary, while the state would meet the remaining cost under a public-private partnership model.
According to the ministry, urban slum population in India is expected to touch 93.06 million by 2011.
At present, only a handful of states give security of tenure to slum dwellers in limited form. But the new law will put the onus on the states to give property rights to slum dwellers either in-situ or in an alternate area before evicting them.
"We have circulated the model act to all states to bring necessary legislation to enact their respective state property right acts. Though it's a model act, there is a rider that states which do not implement it would not get any monetary incentive under Rajiv Awas Yojana - the UPA government's ambitious slum-free initiative that will be launched shortly," said a ministry official.
Also, to check any new encroachment on government land, the law has in place penal provision where encroachers will face a maximum of three-year jail or a minimum fine of Rs 1 lakh or both.
The ministry has left it to the respective states to decide the eligibility based on the number of years a person has lived in a particular slum area.
Those who are not "eligible" would also be provided a space on a rental basis.
The law prohibits slum dwellers from transferring or selling their home before seven years from the date of allotment without the government's permission.
Any violation would result in the allotment getting cancelled.