Houses for poor: Dikshit eyes USAID

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today sought assistance from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for an ambitious project to build houses for economically weaker sections of people in the capital.

Dikshit made the request to USAID authorities in the presence of US Ambassador to India Nancy J Powell at a function to release a report on 'Making Health Systems Work for Urban Poor' here.

Lauding the 'Mission Convergence' programme of her Government which is being implemented with technical assistance from USAID, the Chief Minister said her administration was open to ideas that would improve health and wealth conditions of the urban poor.

"Housing is another area. I don't know whether the USAID will help us in this regard. But I would want them to assist in building houses for economically weaker sections of the society. There are shanties all over Delhi and we have to take care of them as well. We have to build them houses," she said.

Later, speaking to reporters, Powell said the USAID was looking at innovative ideas and programmes to help the urban poor in several countries and that the request by Dikshit on the housing project "could come in that."

Dikshit said through Mission Convergence, the government reaches out to its vulnerable citizens for their inclusion in the governance process and provides training.

She also asked NGOs and others involved in the programme to work towards correcting the sex-ratio which is skewed and listed the initiatives taken by her government to make women "economically very viable commodity for the family".

In her speech, Powell lauded the progress India has made in the past few years in health care systems but said many challenges remain in this sector.

Since India has a "very vibrant private sector", new products and processes should begin from this country and the USAID will help in this regard, she said.

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