Why Huge Housing Scheme Named for Sardar Patel Will Annoy Congress
The ambitious new scheme - the Sardar Patel Urban Housing Mission - will trump and subsume several existing programs that are named after Congress leaders
Oct 17, 2014
Source : ndtv.com
Narendra Modi


New Delhi: After the Prime Minister listed a "roof over every Indian's head" by 2022 as a priority, sources in the government say a large component of the new housing-for-all scheme will be named after iconic Gujarat leader and freedom fighter Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

Sources said the ambitious new scheme - the Sardar Patel Urban Housing Mission - will trump and subsume several existing programs that are named after Congress leaders and former prime ministers Rajiv and Indira Gandhi, and are designed to provide low-cost housing to the urban poor.

The government's plans are likely to provoke the opposition Congress into reiterating charges that Mr Modi's administration appropriates the schemes and reforms of its predecessor; frequently, Congress leaders have alleged this reflects the new government "has no imagination."   

The fact that programmes named after its top leaders will now be rolled into an over-arching scheme will also be seen by the Congress as an insult. Then, there's the Congress' contention that Mr Modi has made a heavy-handed attempt to take possession of the legacy of Sardar Patel, a Congressman.

Mr Modi, after coming to office, has committed $33 million or overRs. 200 crores of government money to help fund the construction of the world's tallest statue, in honour of Sardar Patel at a river island in Gujarat.  

The elaborate project has been seen as a public reprimand by the BJP to the Congress for allegedly overlooking the contribution of a great leader by a party devoted to promoting and honouring only the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.  

Recently, Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu announced that the government is committed to the construction of 30 million new houses by 2022.

The government's big new scheme aims at providing cheaper housing loans and helping low-income residents in urban areas by providing a down payment. Sources say the construction laws will also be liberal - allowing more built-up space, for example - to draw real estate developers to build what will be council-type flats.

The Sardar Patel Urban Housing Mission proposal is being vetted by the Expenditure and Finance Committee of the government. Once the committee clears the proposal, a note will be prepared for the clearance by the Cabinet. 

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