Modi mimics Cong, offers 50 lakh houses


Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Monday released the BJP's manifesto announcing a housing department to be headed by himself which would build 50 lakh homes in rural and urban areas at the cost of Rs 33,000 crore.

Although housing dominated the press conference, tucked away in the list of promises was one about modernising madrassas. The manifesto document says, "Literacy among Gujarat's Muslims is 73.5 per cent, which is much higher than the national rate of 59 per cent. We plan to raise the quality of education by the medium of technology to help bring Muslims into the mainstream education and modernise madrassas."

The manifesto, called Sankalp Patra, focuses on agriculture and middle class empowerment. It also promises accident insurance to all six crore of Gujaratis and an Act, to be called Right to Services (RTS), to ensure people get rightful services from the government.

Terming the housing scheme as Mukhya Mantri Gruh Samruddhi Yojana, BJP said it would be executed on public-private partnership (PPP) basis. The manifesto document says there will be "relief on land rates and floor space index (FSI) as incentives" in the execution of the project.

Announcing the scheme that is being seen as a counter to Congress's Ghar Nu Ghar (own your house) scheme promised in its vision document, Modi coined a new term, "neo-middle class", for people who had risen just above the poverty line.

BJP has promised two kinds of homes - 7.5 lakh units of 387 sq feet (built-up area) each for slum-dwellers and an equal number of the same size for economically weaker sections and 3.5lakh units of 538 sq feet each for neo-middle class. Twenty-eight lakh houses will be built in rural areas and 22 lakh in urban areas. All rural areas will have pucca houses, BJP leaders said.

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