From ET Realty
NEW DELHI: President Pranab Mukherjee today said that the government is committed to providing ‘housing for all’ by 2022 and over 4.25 lakh houses have been sanctioned under the scheme at a cost of more than Rs 24,600 crore.
Launched in June last year, the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana seeks to accomplish the construction of about two crore houses in the next six years to benefit primarily slum dwellers, urban poor and those belonging to economically weaker sections and lower income groups.
Addressing the joint sitting of Parliament, the President said, “The government is committed to providing Housing for All by 2022… The mission intends to cover all 4,041 statutory towns in the coming five years.”
In its first year alone, 2,011 towns/cities in 27 states have been included under the mission, he said, adding, “A total of over 4.25 lakh houses have been sanctioned with a project cost of over Rs 24,600 crore.”
Mukherjee also said that Varanasi and Jaipur have been declared as the first two Indian cities to be part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.
Launched in 2004, the network aims to strengthen cooperation with and among cities that have recognised creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable development vis-a-vis the economy, society, culture and environment.
Referring to the Swachh Bharat Mission, with its focus on behavioural change, Mukherjee said it is becoming a community movement to “herald an overall change in the quality of life and well-being” of the people, particularly the poor.
“Focusing on generating wealth from waste, the government has formulated policies on mandatory procurement of power from waste-to-energy plants, co-marketing of compost by chemicals and fertiliser companies, and use of construction and demolition waste,” he said.
Holding that a robust infrastructure development unlocks opportunities for all, he said the government has initiated the Smart Cities programme for pursuing urban development in a “challenge mode”.
“In the first phase of the Smart City programme, 20 cities have been selected after intense competition among 98 cities. Second and third phases of the programme are on the anvil,” he said.
On the tourism sector, Mukherjee said 13 circuits and as many pilgrimage sites have been identified for development under the Swadesh Darshan and PRASAD schemes, respectively.
Under Swadesh Darshan, theme-based tourism circuits are identified for infrastructure development across the country, while PRASAD’s objective is to augment religious and spiritual tourism in the country.