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Portal to provide housing solutions to rural India

16 July 2012

Rahul Kumar/OneWorld South Asia

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Constructing a house in rural India might have become a tad easier. IIT-Delhi along with the Ministry of Rural Development launched the Rural Housing Knowledge Network portal on Monday for sharing of information between various stakeholders on rural housing.

The portal, Rural Housing Knowledge Network targets the rural population that plans to build house and also invites experts from the housing sector.

Launching the portal at a one-day workshop organised by IIT-D along with other stakeholders in the housing sector, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, Rajesh Bhushan said the concept emerged over a year ago when the ministry wanted to create a resource for the rural housing sector with a focus on the Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY). Bhushan said: “When a project like this is implemented, work takes place at the level of the panchayat. We hope that this portal should also provide for the capacity building of panchayats.”

The Centre for Rural Development and Technology, IIT-D, is developing the portal in collaboration with the Human Settlement Management Institute, HUDCO, and several other agencies from the sector. Associate professor at the IIT-D, Vijayaraghavan M Chari, said that initially the idea was to provide a portal for rural people who were below the poverty line. “But the ministry wanted us to look at a wider aspect and provide information to those who need technical information also. The portal currently targets two kinds of users now – rural users and housing professionals.”

HUDCO spokesperson Surin said that even though Indians are an ancient people with maximum experience of living and housing, that togetherness does not show in the urban environment. “Look at the sparrows. They have simply disappeared from our houses.” He added that the portal will be able to provide solutions and ideas for better housing and habitat in the country.

The portal launch saw representation of panchayat leaders from Gujarat and Tamil Nadu who shared their experiences of how the flagship IAY was functioning in their villages and how it could be shaped up better to improve the housing conditions of the rural people.

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