India has processed more than 15,500 transactions and disbursed Rs 100 crore in the last six months to beneficiaries in Sri Lanka under the second phase of the housing project there with the help of five Indian banks.
New Delhi, which launched the direct cash transfer on October 2 last year, has planned to spend Rs 1,000 crore for construction of 43,000 house units in the second phase of the housing project.
During 2013-14, an amount of Rs 375 crore is expected to be incurred towards the implementation of this project meant for displaced Tamils.
Out of 43,000 units, 39,000 houses are in Northern Province and 4,000 in Eastern Province of Sri Lanka.
Giving details of the "owner-driven" model adopted by India for the second phase, officials said government transfers a cash grant of SLR 5.50 lakh (Sri Lankan Rupees) directly into the bank accounts of beneficiaries in four instalments for construction of new houses and a cash grant of upto SLR 2,50,000 in three instalments for repairs of existing houses.
The work is directly executed by the beneficiaries themselves.
A dedicated Development Cooperation Wing has been set up in the Indian High Commission in Colombo, with a number of additional staff deployed to facilitate the implementation of the growing projects portfolio, they said.
"We have utilised SLR 2.28 billion (INR 100 crore) for the housing project since the launch of its second phase six months ago and as on March 30 this year, the Indian mission in Colombo has processed 15,586 transactions (1st instalment- 11,379, 2nd instalment-3,448, 3rd instalment–741 and 4th instalment-18 beneficiary files)," officials said.
The funds for the project are transferred through five Indian banks operating in Colombo -- State Bank of India, Axis Bank, Indian Bank, Indian Overseas Bank and ICICI Bank. Each bank has been allocated a specific area of jurisdiction for transferring funds to beneficiaries falling within their jurisdiction.
Beneficiaries have the freedom to open a savings bank account with a bank of their choice. Funds are transferred through Sri Lanka Inter Bank Payment System (SLIPS) to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries within one working day.
Four implementing agencies (IAs) -- UN-Habitat (UN-Agency), International Federation of Red Cross (I-NGO), Habitat for Humanity (I-NGO) and National Housing Development Authority (agency of GoSL) -- have been appointed by the Government of India facilitate the construction of the houses.
The IAs in consultation with the district officials select the beneficiaries as per an agreed scoring criteria agreed by both governments. The agencies facilitate the transfer of funds to the beneficiaries by the Mission in different stages depending on the physical progress of the work.
These agencies also provide training to the beneficiaries, offer the required assistance for selecting design of the houses, mobilising construction material and labour and provide technical assistance and training to the beneficiaries to complete their houses.
Based on files prepared for each beneficiary by the IAs, incorporating the details of the family, bank accounts, land deeds, identity particulars, agreements, photographic proof showing the stage of construction (with the beneficiaries), fund request, the Mission processes the files for payment and funds are transferred directly into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries and intimated to them.
India has already completed the Pilot Project involving construction of 1,000 houses in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka under agency-driven model in 2012.
The houses have been handed over to the beneficiaries. The Project is under defect liability period till July 31 this year. Action is being taken to rectify the defects noticed in the construction during this period, officials said.
For the third phase of the project involving construction of 4,000 houses for families of estate workers of Central/Uva province, who are predominantly of 'Indian Origin Tamils', the Project Management Consultant has been finalised while WAPCOS will execute the contract.
During 2013-14, an amount of Rs 25 crore is expected to be incurred towards the implementation of this project. The total cost of this multi-year project is Rs 212 crore. (Out Look India)