Monday, October 17, 2011

India's Poorest Pay Bribes

By Manuwant Choudhary

Rajiv Gandhi got it all wrong....India's poorest pay higher bribes than estimated - a bribe in his mothers name -- Indira.

The Indira Aawas Yojna or the Indira Housing Scheme is about providing basic shelter to India's poorest and over the years the fund available has been increased.

Now a poor family would get Rs.45,000/- or roughly 921 US dollars to build a house.

But in practice he gets much less.

First he has to pay Rs.7,000/- to a local village tout and then another Rs.500 to open a bank account, another Rs.200 for paperwork.

Following this the tout goes to the local mukhiya (village head) and after the mukhiya gets his cut then he signs on the documents approving that the person is poor and deserving.

Then Rs.20,000 is sanctioned to construct the house as a first installment.

Once this is done, then there is an inspection and then the rest Rs.25,000/- is sanctioned. This is to be used for the cement/concrete roof and windows and doors.

But since the poor family have already spent Rs.8,000 before in reality he gets only Rs.17,000/-

So if a poor person does not have the Rs.7000/- bribe then he will most certainly not even get the Indira Awas Yojna fund.

What the mukhiya does is that he grants the scheme to those who already have a house, they just whitewash their old homes and pocket the money.

A better way for `gareebee hatao' would be to send the money directly to the poor man's bank account and let him spend it on what he feels like.

The scheme is also faulty in that it takes away the property rights of the poorest. Having built the Indira Aawas he cannot sell his dwelling land.

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