Housing is one of the basic requirement for human survival. For a shelterless person, possession of a house brings about a profound change in his existence, endowing him with an identity, thus integrating him with his immediate social milieu. With a view to meeting the housing needs of the rural poor, Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) was launched in May 1985 as a sub-scheme of Jawahar Rozgar Yojana. It is being implemented as an independent scheme since 1 January 1996. The Indira Awaas Yojana aims at helping rural people below the poverty-line (BPL) belonging to SCs/STs, freed bonded labourers and non-SC/ST categories in construction of dwelling units and upgradation of existing unserviceable kutcha houses by providing assistance in the form of full grant. From 1995-96, the IAY benefits have been extended to widows or next-of-kin of defence personnel killed in action. Benefits have also been extended to ex-servicemen and retired members of the paramilitary forces as long as they fulfil the normal eligibility conditions of Indira Awaas Yojana. Three per cent of funds are reserved for the disabled persons living below the poverty-line in rural areas. Since 2006-07, IAY funds are also being earmarked for minorities.