Housing is one of the basic requirements for human survival. For a normal citizen owning a house provides significant economic security and status in society. For a shelterless person, a house brings about a profound social change in his existence, endowing him with an identity, thus integrating him with his immediate social milieu.
A housing programme for the rehabilitation of refugees was taken up immediately after partition by the Ministry of Refugee Rehabilitation and lasted till around 1960 under which approximately 5 lakh families were housed in various centres mainly located in Northern India. A Village Housing Scheme was also launched as part of the Community Development Movement in 1957, in which loans to individuals and cooperative were provided up to a maximum of Rs.5000/- per house. However only 67000 houses were built under this scheme by the end of the Fifth plan (1980).
The genesis of the Indira Awas Yojana can be traced to the programmes of rural employment which began in the early 1980s. Construction of houses was one of the major activities under the National Rural Employment Programme (NREP) which began in 1980 and the Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme (RLEGP) which began in 1983.
As per announcement made by Government in June 1985, a part of RLEGP fund was earmarked for the construction of SCs/ STs and freed bonded laborers. As a result, Indira Awaas Jojana (IAY) was launched during 1985-96 as a sub-scheme of RLEGP. IAY thereafter continued as a sub-scheme of Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY) since its launching in April, 1989. 6% of the total JRY funds were allocated for implementation of IAY. From the year 1993-94 the scope of IAY was extended to cover Non Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes below the poverty line families in the rural areas. Simultaneously, the allocation of funds for implementing the scheme was raised from 6% to 10% of the total resources available under JRY at national level, subject to the condition that the benefits to Non-Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes poor should not exceed 4% of the total JRY allocation. IAY has now been de-linked from JRY and has been made an independent scheme with effect from 1st January 1996.
The objective of Indira Awaas Yojana is primarily to help construction of dwelling units by members of Scheduled Castes/ Schedule Tribes, freed bonded laborers and also non- SC/ST rural poor below the poverty line by providing them with grant-in-aid.