Article in the Oman Tribune, shared by the Press trust of India
Monday, July 22, 2013
NEW DELHI Ahead of the general elections due next year in India, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has finalised a draft bill for providing homes to the homeless in rural areas.
The draft of the National Right to Homestead Bill, 2013, prepared by the rural development ministry, is almost ready for inter-ministerial consultation, official sources said on Thursday.
According to the eleventh plan document, an estimated 13 to 18 million families in rural India are landless, of which about 8 million don’t have homes.
The welfare measure seeks to ensure every shelterless poor family in rural areas has a right to a home and a piece of land of not less than area of 10 cents.
It comes against the backdrop of the government’s efforts to push through another ambitious entitlement-based legislation - the National Food Security Bill, 2011, which continues to hang fire and is yet to get Parliament’s nod.
The bill said the right to home should be enforced within a time period as specified and in accordance with the plans to be made at the state-level and the district levels for the purpose.
It is the outcome of a 10-point agreement signed in Agra in October last year between the federal government and Gandhian activist PV Rajagopal of Ekta Parishad who had led an agitation of the landless poor.
Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, who had signed the agreement on behalf of the government, had promised to initiate land reforms. Following the government’s promises to initiate land reform and the possibility of statutory backing for the right to shelter, homestead and agricultural land, thousands of landless poor had ended their march to Delhi.
According to the government, the poorest and most vulnerable among the rural families are those who are landless and shelterless and millions of rural household have no house of their own.
Through its various judgments, the Supreme Court has also said that the issue of a roof over one’s head needs to be seen as a basic human right, and a fundamental right that guarantees dignity to an individual. The government hopes that a homestead of 10 cents area provided to a poor shelterless family shall help in enabling the family build a shelter and take up supplementary livelihood activities such as backyard poultry, goat-rearing, horticulture and vegetable cultivation.
Online link : http://www.omantribune.com/index.php?page=news&id=140021&heading=India