The Government of Nepal had finalised grant agreement with 110,000 beneficiaries under the safe citizen housing programme in fiscal 2020-21.

Of them, 50,000 beneficiaries have received the first tranche of grant, while 16,936 others have completed roofing of their houses with galvanised zinc sheets upon receipt of the first and second tranches.

According to a report card published by the Ministry of Urban Development, the Ministry of Finance allocated the budget to the local levels for the grant agreement and implementation of the safe citizen housing programme as per recommendation of the MoUD.

The programme has been executed in line with Safe Citizen Housing Implementation Procedure, 2019 in a bid to ensure arrangement of appropriate, safe and environment-friendly housing for people living below the poverty line and whose houses have thatched roofs. The procedure requires the government to identify and select beneficiaries on the basis of the recommendation letter of the concerned local level and district disaster management committee.

Only families living in a hut or house with thatched roof that is vulnerable to fire, rain and storm will benefit from this scheme.

"The grant shall be used to replace the thatched roof or other vulnerable roofs with galvanised zinc sheets. Priority shall be given to families with senior citizens, orphans, single women and persons with disabilities.

Any joint family is entitled to grant amount for only one housing unit," reads the procedure.

The procedure has empowered the Safe Citizen Housing Coordination Committee led by a directly elected member of the House of Representatives to select beneficiaries from among the families identified by the Federal Level Project Implementation Unit in the concerned constituency.

The FLPIU will enter into a grant agreement with selected beneficiaries for the purpose of construction of safe housing. A grant amount of Rs 50,000 is provided through a banking channel in two tranches - 60 per cent and 40 per cent. Upon receiving the first tranche of the grant amount, the concerned beneficiary should proceed with re-roofing the house.

The last tranche will be released once a report from the concerned local level and technical committee confirms that the first tranche was properly used. Amount exceeding the grant for re-roofing should be borne by the concerned family.

If the grant amount is not found to have been used for the purpose for which it was provided, the FLPIU shall recover the cash from the concerned beneficiary as a government due.

The beneficiaries of the post-earthquake housing reconstruction and vulnerable settlement relocation, among other schemes, shall not be entitled to this grant under safe citizen housing programme.

A version of this article appears in the print on September 17 2021, of The Himalayan Times.