The central government has asked states to adopt a model in which no Indira Awas Yojna (IAY) houses would be built without toilets, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said Tuesday. "This year, Bihar has taken a policy decision that no IAY house will be built without a toilet. So we have recommended the Bihar model to all states," Ramesh told reporters after a meeting with state government secretaries here. IAY is one of the major flagship programmes of the rural development ministry to construct houses for the Below Poverty Line (BPL) population in villages. Under the scheme, financial assistance of Rs.70,000 in plains and Rs 75,000 in difficult areas (highlands) is provided for the construction of houses. Ramesh said states, during Tuesday's meeting, have committed to build 85 lakh toilets. Terming this a revolution in toilet construction, he said states have made a commitment and now it was upto them to ensure that these commitments are fulfilled. "We will monitor the implementation and ensure that the procedures will not stand in the way," he said adding: "We (India) will not be open defecation free for another 8 to 10 years. We have long way to go to make India open defecation free."
New Delhi, Oct 29