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Government rolls back IAY norms; SC/ST quota reinstated

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Thiruvananthapuram: The state government has issued a directive to implement the Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) as per the prevailing norms for the current fiscal, reinstating the 60 per cent quota for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities in the state.

The Central Government's circular effecting a steep hike of 47 per cent in the share of minorities in the IAY scheme meant for constructing houses for the rural poor, had evoked strong protest in the state.

It was following the Centre's decision to ensure 15 per cent share for the minority communities in the country that the Centre issued the circular to hike the quota in Kerala from 15 to 47 per cent. Based on these guidelines, the state had reduced the quota of the SC, ST communities from 60 per cent to 45 percent leaving just eight percent for all other communities.

Following protests from SC, ST communities and general category sections, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had asked the department to temporarily stop the implementation of the scheme.

Following this, Rural Development Minister K C Joseph held discussions with Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh on August 8 and appraised him of the social backwardness of SC, STs and other sections compared to the minorities in the state.

The state government could also convince the Centre that the circular effecting hike in the minority quota in the state alone to raise the national average of 15 percent for minorities was unscientific and unrealistic.

''Union Minister Jairam Ramesh has accepted our views and allowed the state to implement IAY as per the prevailing norms,'' said A Mohan Kumar, Additional Development Commissioner, said.

He told Express that 60 per cent of the 45,000 houses to be constructed this year under IAY will be given to the SC/STs, 15 per cent to minorities and 25 per cent to others including general category beneficiaries.

However, in districts like Malappuram where minority concentration is very high houses would be also given from the general category.

Jairam Ramesh had also assured to review the situation on the basis of the socio-economic caste census during the next fiscal.

The Department of Rural Development of the Union Government had on May 13 this year approved new guidelines for Indira Awas Yojana scheme for rural poor.

IANS

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