Policy Documents

“The proposal “National Rural Habitat and Housing Policy”

The focus of public policy on rural habitat has been on the poorest and rightly so, considering that more that 14 million rural families do not have a ‘roof on their head’ and another 3.2 million increasing, annually. A parallel view, however, is that unless the different needs of the ‘entire rural population’ are addressed, delivery of individual services to the poorest like the water supply, sanitation, energy, communication will never be effective. It is also essential that the rural habitat development be seen in the context of rural poverty alleviation. This is where the critical link between habitat and livelihood stands important. The Bharat Nirman Yojnaand the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) are steps in this direction.

Rural India is not homogeneous; there are varied economic and social segments, income patterns governed by natural cycles, and lifestyles and spatial needs linked closely to occupational systems. So it is important that the rural development initiatives be harnessed in an integrated manner. It is essential that there should be an exclusive National Rural Habitat Policy that promotes conditions to facilitate the creation of sustainable habitat and recognises critical links between land, natural resource management, and livelihoods of the poor within their habitats.

On the 4th of December 2007, on behalf of the people of India, basin-SouthAsia handed over the final policy proposal for a new rural habitat policy to the Government of India through the Secretary, Rural Development, Mr.SubasPani.The proposal “National Rural Habitat and Housing Policy”highlights that:

• Every rural household must have adequate homestead land and security of tenure
• There should be easier options for credit finance for the marginalised
• Adequate capacities of stakeholders and service delivery agents need to be built for efficient delivery at the grassroots
• Integrated development of habitat with livelihoods infrastructure should be promoted in a sustainable manner
• A self-sustaining system for habitat delivery based on markets must be developed.

This initiative undertaken by the platform would not have reached its destination had it not received continuous support from diverse stake-holding institutions - village communities, civil society, academic institutions, financial institutions, corporate sector, local governance institutions and central government.

The project has a high potential for replication in democracies of South Asia and elsewhere. The power of its replication is imminent from the support and interest the process has received from various institutions – both grassroots and policy-making across the country. It is firmly believed that the policy will be instrumental in changing the lives of the poorest. It is certain that this final draft on the proposed policy will provide necessary pointers to the government towards habitat development priorities of the rural people and also highlight the institutional potential in rural areas.

Lack of access to technology has several adverse impacts on the lives and health of people living in poverty. Often the poor do not have the knowledge/skills to use them effectively. The lack of knowledge and skills is mainly due to a lack of information and training.

The study, Power to Tackle Poverty from IT-Power, 2001 has identified that half of the people that lack access to adequate energy today can get this via capacity building.

Final Policy Proposal Hindi English Flyer NRHH English
NRHH Marathi Redbook