IAY housing, concrete roads among sops for 60 Naxal-hit dists

New Delhi: In a bid to tackle the Naxal menace in 60 most affected districts, the Centre has decided to start major initiatives there which includes IAY housing for people whose homes have been destroyed and construction of concrete roads.

The Rural Development Ministry has also planned to start a PPP initiative with private companies for value addition in non-timber forest produce in six districts of Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh as a pilot project.

Talking to reporters, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said the decisions have been taken for the same and this will go to the Ratification Committee on Integrated Action Plan (IAP) districts headed by a Planning Commission member, which has been delegated all the powers by Cabinet.

"We are actually going to them for four major decisions. First is Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. We are going to allow concrete roads to be built in the highly affected blocks in the 60 districts. Normally, we build black top roads. But on security point of view, cement concrete roads will be done," Ramesh said.

He said 90 per cent of amount for the construction of the roads will be borne by the Centre and 10 per cent will be borne by the state. At present, the ratio stands at 50-50. The government also decided to make all sections of people whose houses were destroyed in Naxal violence eligible for housing under the Indira Awas Yojana in these districts. "Suppose you are a victim of Naxal violence, your house is burnt, irrespective of BPL or APL you will be eligible for IAY houses," Ramesh said.

"For disabled, widows and old age beneficiaries, the district administration will construct the IAY houses. Right now, what happens is, we give the money, yet these people are unable to construct houses," the Minister added.

All the 60 IAP districts would be covered under the National Rural Livelihood Mission by March 31, 2013, he said. "We will start a programme for placement linked jobs for 3,00,000 unemployed youths in these 60 districts over the next five years. These youths will be trained and provided jobs," Ramesh said.

Talks are on with companies like ITC, Dabur, Wipro, Godrej and Emami for starting six Private Public Partnership (PPP) initiatives for value addition in non timber produce, Ramesh said. "We have already spoken to companies. Right now, the monopoly is with the government agencies. We want to take it out to the government agencies and bring the private sector," he said, pointing out that though the government agencies are doing marketing, value addition benefits are not going back to the local communities. The Minister said the focus of the companies will be on marketing. "The women`s self help group will be responsible for collection and the private companies will then be responsible for marketing," Ramesh said.

He said the government has also decided to open a new window under the National Rural Drinking Water Programme where 10 per cent of the entire allocation under the NRDWP is going to be allocated for the IAP districts on 85:15 basis. "85 per cent from the Centre and 15 per cent will be the state`s share. 10 per cent comes this year will amount to 935 crore. This is earmarked for 60 districts," he said.