The Centre and states should soon reach an understanding on the land acquisition law as otherwise “we are not able move forward or go backward”, Urban Development minister M Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday.
During the Question Hour in Rajya Sabha, Naidu was asked by members about issues relating to slum dwellers with Anil Desai (Shiv Sena) wanting to know what the Centre can do for people who move from villages to cities for better livelihood and reach the slums.
“Land being a state subject, unless the state comes forward with a scheme, identifying the beneficiaries, I can only give money from here. But unfortunately the Land Acquisition Act got into a controversy and we are not able to move forward or go backward. Today, that is the situation,” Naidu said in his reply.
“The sooner, the better the states and the Centre come to an understanding with regard to the Land Aquisition Bill,” he said.
Naidu, who also holds the charge of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, said the population has increased and, along with it, the number of people living in slums has also gone up.
According to Census figures tabled by him in the House, the slum population in 2001 was 5.2 crore which has increased to over 6.5 crore in 2011.
Naidu said the government has launched the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana to provide Housing for all by 2022.
The minister also said the government has been encouraging private builders to enter the category of houses for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) but not many are forthcoming as it is not “remunerative for them.”
He said that 6 lakh houses have already been approved by the Centre, which is not too big a number but significant if one looks at the proposals that were forwarded to the Centre by the states.
Naidu also gave details of various central schemes to provide housing for slum dwellers including by developing them vertically and providiing financial assistance to people from EWS to build their own houses.