Centre’s housing scheme for tribal groups facing hurdles due to lack of accurate data on Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups population

Several discrepancies have cropped up in the data provided by the Centre on the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups and the ones States found

March 01, 2024 07:19 pm | Updated March 02, 2024 09:16 am IST - New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan (PM-JANMAN) on January 15, 2024. Photo: PMO site via PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan (PM-JANMAN) on January 15, 2024. Photo: PMO site via PTI

 

Trying to collect the data on possible beneficiaries while simultaneously implementing the project, is slowing down the housing component of PM Janjati Adivasi Nyay Maha Abhiyaan (PM-JANMAN). Out of the nearly 5 lakh houses that were to be constructed, the government had set a target of sanctioning 2.5 lakh by February 15. But more than a fortnight later the only 1.59 lakh houses could be sanctioned. 

Going into an election year, this scheme is being implemented at a lightning speed. The PM Janjati Adivasi Nyay Maha Abhiyaan (PM-JANMAN), which was announced in 2023’s Union Budget speech and launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 15, 2023 with a target of unrolling it by January 15. 

As The Hindu reported on February 17, the government relied on the PM Gati Shakti portal to estimate the total population of 75 tribes - that have been grouped under the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) across the country. The government has three different estimates for the total PVTG population - 28 lakh to begin with in November, which increased to 36.5 lakh by mid-January and ballooning further to 44.64 lakhs by the end of January. 

Based on the numbers given by the Gati Shakti app, the State governments were given a month to conduct their own survey beginning from December 15 asking them to come back to the Centre with an action plan by January 15, so that the sanctioning of houses could begin from January 25. 

A majority of the States, according to sources, hard pressed for time, began work with half completed surveys to meet the deadlines. “As we are going along, there are many discrepancies between the data with the Tribal Affairs Ministry and ours. We have been told that for now, we can sanction houses only in the villages notified by the Centre, till the two databases are reconciled,” a senior official from Kerala explained. 

For example Madhya Pradesh, in multiple letters to the union government has flagged the fear that many beneficiaries will be left out. The state government has listed out several instances where PVTGs groups are found in villages outside the ones notified by the Centre. Kedar Singh, Director, Madhya Pradesh government, explained that since the count has started, from the initial figure of presence of PVTGs in 16 districts it has now been found in 24 districts. 50,000 additional households have been identified by the State who are eligible for the scheme. Tripura also has pointed out similar problems.

“The population is never static. Especially since these groups fall under the most vulnerable category, they migrate regularly looking for employment. We are trying to ensure that every eligible household is covered,” Sandeep Rathore, Secretary Rural Development explained. 

The scheme has a total outlay of ₹24,104 crore to be spent over a three-year period, of which nearly 80% is only for construction of houses and roads. 

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