Parliament Question: Rehabilitation of Poor Families Living on Railway Land Near the Railway Tracks

Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) was launched on 02.06.2011. Under Rajiv Awas Yojana, Central Assistance is extended to States that are willing to assign property rights to slum dwellers and undertake reservation of land for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS)/Low Income Groups (LIG), earmark 25 per cent of municipal budget for basic services to the urban poor/slum-dwellers and bring in legislative amendments and policy changes to redress land and affordable housing shortages for the urban poor. Fifty per cent (50%) of the cost of provision of basic civic and social infrastructure and amenities and of housing, including rental housing and transit housing -for in-situ redevelopment in slums – would be borne by the Centre. However, for the North Eastern and Special Category States the share of the Centre would be 90%, including the cost of land acquisition, if required. This was stated by Shri Ajay Maken, Minister of Housing & Poverty Alleviation in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha today.

The Minister further stated that the Phase I, the preparatory phase, of Rajiv Awas Yojana, which is for a period of two years from the date of approval of the scheme, i.e. till June 2013, is currently under implementation, to undertake preparatory activities and pilot projects.

The Scheme emphasizes a ‘whole city’, ‘whole slum’ approach. In respect of Central Government land it is expected that the agencies concerned will work in cooperation with the State Governments / Urban Local Body, and design suitable solutions to redevelop /relocate the slums with due property rights given to slum dwellers.

The Minister also stated that the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation has received requests from various authorities for rehabilitation of poor families living on railway land near railway tracks in the cities of Gujarat under Rajiv Awas Yojana. However, proposals from State Government have not yet been received.

He further stated that the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation has drawn attention of the Central Government land-owning Ministries/Departments including Ministry of Railways to the guidelines circulated by the Ministry for preparation of innovative pilot projects under RAY with the objective of evolving, demonstrating and establishing models that can thereafter be up-scaled. Under these guidelines pilot projects submitted by Central Government Ministries/Departments, including the Ministry of Railways and Central Public Sector Undertakings are also eligible for central assistance. Central Government land owning Ministries/ Departments have been advised to issue necessary instructions to the agencies concerned under them to explore the possibilities of preparing innovative pilot projects for redevelopment of slums on their land and seek Central assistance.

A meeting of State Ministers in charge of Housing was held to discuss various issues of implementation of RAY Scheme, including slums on various categories of land. The issue of slums on Central Government lands, including on Railway lands was taken up in the meeting of Committee of Secretaries having representation of various land-owning Ministries such as Railways, Forest, Civil Aviation, Defence etc. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation has held several deliberations with Central / State Governments, land owning Ministries / Departments to arrive at a policy solution to redevelop / relocate the slums on their land including on Railway lands, under Rajiv Awas Yojana. A Secretary level bilateral meeting was held between Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation. The Central Government Ministries and Departments have been requested to take up slum survey and other preparatory activities and prepare pilot projects for seeking Central assistance support under the current phase of Rajiv Awas Yojana, the Minister added.

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