*15:12 IST *

The Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation has organized the first
ever Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Human Settlements in
New Delhi in collaboration with the UN-HABITAT from 13th to 16th   December
2006 in New Delhi.

The Conference aimed at addressing the challenges of Urbanization, Housing
and Habitat Management, Millennium Development Goals, Urban Poverty and Slum
Development and to develop strategies and policies for integrated
development, in which land and housing are key components. The goal of the
Conference was to share and exchange knowledge on land and housing and
national and city strategies for poverty alleviation. 18 Ministers from Asia
Pacific region dealing with Housing and Human Settlements and Delegates from
35 countries participated in the Conference. The President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul
Kalam inaugurated the Ministerial Segment of the Conference on
15thDecember, 2006. The Asia Pacific Ministers responsible for Housing
& Urban
Development, who had attended the Conference, also adopted a Delhi
Declaration to consider the challenge of housing and urbanization in Asia
and the Pacific and also endorsed 'An Enhanced Framework of Implementation
For Sustainable Urbanization in  Asia-Pacific".

Housing Ministers' Conference, 2006

The Union Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, in collaboration
with Govt. of Andhra Pradesh has hosted Housing Ministers' Conference at
Hyderabad on 17-18 November 2006 which was attended by Experts/pioneers in
the field of housing & human settlement, Finance and other stakeholders. The
Conference was organized to deliberate the following issues :

   - Progress made by States/Union Territories on Central Scheme and
   Programmes pertaining to housing and related activities;
   - Sharing experiences on innovations taken by States in the area of
   housing and related infrastructure;
   - Identifying key issues for further action by various stakeholders.

The participants in the Conference deliberated upon above issues including
supply of Land and Housing; Finance for Housing; Legal and Regulatory issues
etc. The Conference made number of recommendations especially with respect
to Sustainable Development of Housing and Human Settlement with Equity,
Social Justice and Enhancement of Quality of Life; Preparation of a State
level Housing Policy in line with the National Policy to encourage and
support the creation of housing stock; Promote bottom-up planning at city
and town level, on the pattern of city development plan being prepared under
JNNURM towns to have a vision for Slum-free city with a comprehensive
participatory approach to housing and infrastructure development and focus
on social audit.

Regional Conference of Ministers/Secretary at Shillong

A one-day Regional Conference of State Ministers/Secretaries of the North
Eastern States including Sikkim on Urban Poverty Alleviation was held in
Shillong, Meghalaya on 18th September, 2006. Minister of State (Independent
Charge) for Housing & Urban Pverty Alleviation, inaugurated the conference.
The conference was attended by Ministers and other Senior officers from all
the 8 NER (North Eastern Region) States. The Conference focused on review of
various Schemes and Urban Pverty Alleviation programme being run by the
Ministry in the North Eastern region including Sikkim.

Task Force on Urban Poverty

Ministry has set up a Task Force on Urban Poverty under the chairmanship of
Secretary (Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation) comprising members from the
Planning Commission, representatives from selected States, representatives
from Ministries of Finance, health, Banking, Human Resource Development,
representatives from the Private Sector, NGOs, academic institutions and
other stakeholders. The terms of reference of the Task Force comprise,
inter-alia, an in-depth systematic and comprehensive assessment and analysis
of the issues relating to urban poverty and suggesting strategies/policies
at the National level to alleviate urban poverty in the country.
Setting up of National Core Group on Urban Poverty

The Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation has constituted a
national Core Group on Urban Poverty comprising eminent experts and resource
persons working on various aspects of Urban Poverty. The National Core Group
on Urban Poverty will be led by the Minister for Housing & Urban Poverty
Alleviation and will develop Policy papers addressing all the issues of the
Urban Poor, including land tenure, shelter, basic amenities, livelihood,
micro finance, etc. in a holistic manner.
National Policy on Urban Street Vendors **

The Report & Recommendations on National Urban Street Venders Policy 2004
submitted by The National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised
Sector (NCEUS) has been forwarded to all the States/UTs and NGOs like SEWA,
NASVI, and MANUSHI for their comments/suggestions. A National Seminar on
Urban Street Venders was also held on 12-07-2006 at New Delhi for taking a
comprehensive view in the matter with the concerned stakeholders. Based on
the comments received a revised National Policy on Urban Street Vendors is
being worked out.

A Scheme of Vending Zones for hawkers has been launched to provide space for
10,000 street vendors in 76 places in Pune under Jawaharlal Nehru National
Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) at a cost of Rs. 25 crores. Similar Schemes
will be taken up in other cities under JNNURM.
Integrated Low Cost Sanitation Scheme

The revision of existing guidelines of the Integrated Low Cost Sanitation
Scheme is undr formulation based on the suggestions of the State/UTs. A
meeting of representatives from State/UT Governments under the chairmanship
of Secretary (HUPA) was also held on 12th and 13th October 2006 to review
the efforts to abolish the dry latrines from urban areas of the country.

Sub-Mission on Basic Services to the Urban Poor (BSUP) under Jawahar Lal
Nehru national Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM)

A total of 82 projects on improvement/development/relocation of slums to
improve the housing and infrastructure conditions of urban poor from ten
States have been sanctioned by the Ministry with a total approved cost of
Rs. 6,610 crore.

*Integrated Housing and Slum Development Program (IHSDP)*
A total of 89 projects on improvement/development/relocation of slums to
improve the housing and/or infrastructure conditions of urban poor from
eight States have been sanctioned by the Ministry with a total approved cost
of Rs. 988 crore.