Urban areas lag behind in Centre’s flagship housing scheme

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana has a completion rate of 67.72% in rural areas, six years after its launch

Updated - November 22, 2022 11:48 pm IST

Published - June 04, 2022 06:30 pm IST - New Delhi

Houses built under the PMAY scheme near Vijayawada. The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin was initiated in November 2016 with a target of completing 2.7 crore houses.

Houses built under the PMAY scheme near Vijayawada. The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin was initiated in November 2016 with a target of completing 2.7 crore houses. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Narendra Modi government's flagship programme, the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G), aimed at constructing houses in rural areas, at the end of six years since it began in 2016, has a completion rate of 67.72%, in contrast with the urban version of the scheme that started a year ahead but is lagging behind with a 50% completion rate.

PMAY-G was initiated in November 2016 with a target of completing 2.7 crore houses. So far, according to the database maintained by the Union Ministry of Rural Development, 1.8 crore houses have been constructed, which is 67.72% of the target.

Also read | Cabinet extends deadline to build 2.95 crore rural homes under PMAY-G to 2024

The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban (PMAY-U) was initiated in June 2015 with a target of constructing 1.2 crore homes. According to the latest numbers from the Union Urban Development Ministry, only 60 lakh units have been completed to date.

Delayed by pandemic

Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary Manoj Joshi blamed the pandemic for the slowdown in PMAY-U. Speaking to The Hindu, he said, "The completion rate for houses sanctioned before the COVID-19 pandemic stood around 80%." He added that in urban areas, issues such as a lack of clear titles and other land documents tend to crop up.

The pandemic has sharply hit the completion rates in the PMAY-G scheme too. According to the Rural Development Ministry’s for the financial year 2021-22, only seven lakh houses were constructed as opposed to the pre-pandemic financial year of 2019-20, when 49 lakh houses were completed.

Six States account for 70% of the target units — West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Out of them only two States — Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal — have a completion rate above the national average.

The PMAY-G brings huge political dividends for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government at the Centre, and is also the reason for conflict between the Centre and State.

Recently, the Centre withheld funds for the scheme in two Opposition-ruled States — West Bengal and Chhattisgarh. The Centre withheld the funds to West Bengal for the ongoing financial year following complaints from BJP MPs that the Mamata Banerjee government was repackaging the scheme as the “Bangla Awas Yojana”.

Funds for Chhattisgarh were withheld because the State failed to provide its share of contribution for the scheme; the Centre pays 60% and the States have to bear 40% of the cost.

While Chhattisgarh accepts that it defaulted on the payment because of lack of funds, the West Bengal Government has taken a more strident stand.

“This is nothing but economic blockade. The Centre itself repackaged an existing scheme — the Indira Awas Yojana as the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. Assuming but not admitting that the TMC (Trinamool Congress) government changed the name of the scheme, I would like to point out that State governments contribute 40% of the money and the Centre pays the remaining 60%. Now, from where does the Centre collect its funds? The revenue in the Central pool also comes from the States,” TMC spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Sukendu Sekhar Ray said.

Chhattisgarh Minister T. S. Singh Deo said that the State was unable to get a loan to fund its share. “On Thursday, we completed the formalities of a loan from the Punjab National Bank worth ₹762 crore to cover our contribution for the scheme,” Mr. Deo said. The completion rate for PMAY-G in Chhattisgarh is 67%.

Out of the six States accounting for 70% of the target units, Bihar has one of the lowest completion rates at 59.4%. “Bihar has 16 lakh houses pending from the previous Indira Awas Yojana scheme. It was decided that the backlog will be cleared first before taking up construction under the revised PMAY-G scheme, which is why their numbers are low,” a senior official said.

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