17 Aug 2014

An Open Letter to Ministry of Rural Development, GOI !

Dear Sir,

This is with reference towards the 'Discussion paper on GRAM' published on MoRD's website. Housing for all is one of the areas where I wanted/wished something to happen in a mission mode. I am very happy that GOI has decided to work on that and put up a discussion paper on the website. It is not mentioned anywhere that if I have to make any comments how should I do that, that's why I am writing this mail to you. Apologies for any inconvenience.

The issues identified and brought to the public domain are very relevant. 75,000 INR is not sufficient to build a house for a small family and it is proposed to increase to Rs. 1,50,000 which is double than the previous grant but still not sufficient for the small family. This means the remaining amount should be mobilized by some lending agency. I have following comments to make :-

1) It is said that resource shall be mobilized through institutional credit and from the organizations like HUDCO/NHB but the point is who will lend to the poor. Even if they will lend, will poor can afford the resources required to get loan from banks/financing institution. We all know how many times we have to go to the bank to get a loan and how much paper work is involved and everything has a cost. The poor man who will visit bank will not be able to go for work on that day and will lose money (loss of wage). For how long a poor can afford that. It will also increase the cost of lending for the lending agency and non-performing assets will increase.

2) What about the people who don’t have land?

3) The houses will be built by the beneficiary (I will prefer to use stakeholder in place of beneficiary). The basic assumption for this is stakeholder is technically sound enough to understand/do all the works which a civil engineer does. If he doesn't have any idea about construction how will he be able to build a good/durable house?

My Suggestions:


Please constitute a national level agency to look after the mission. It will have state level agencies implementing the project for them with clear guidelines. There will be various agencies hired at the ground level to actually implement the project. These agencies will be technically sound and managed by professionals. They will not only construct the good quality house but also facilitate the stakeholder in getting loan. 

Benefits :
  1. It will be implemented without any bureaucratic and political influence
  2. It can be done within the time line specified by GOI (by 2022).
  3. If it will be implemented through technical agencies quality of house will be very good and uniform across.
  4. To avail loan through an agency will be better for both, the poor and lending agency.
  5. For lending agency - Cost of lending will not be affected much, NPA will be less and as a result profits will not be affected.
  6. The most important thing is it will generate employment for thousands of Engineers and MBAs in our country.
My purpose to write this mail and to get published this info at this site to make this mission completely successful and a model for the other countries. I have spent a considerable time in thinking/reading about that and took this opportunity to write to you.

I will be happy to discuss more about it, if given a chance. 

Thanks a lot for your time.

What is your view on this issue? How it can be made more efficient and beneficial for people?

(Written by Bibhu Mishra, an alumnus of NIRD (National Institute of Rural Development), Hyderabad and currently working as a Project Coordinator at ICICI Rural Self Employment Training Institute,Jodhpur)



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