NATIONAL

Urban housing schemes at slow pace: panel

A Standing Committee on Urban Development has noted that the UPA’s housing programme, the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) failed to take off due to lack of planning. The Modi government has promised Housing for all by 2022, relaunching the programme under the Sardar Patel National Mission for Urban Housing.

In a report submitted to Parliament earlier this week, the committee noted that even after three years, preparation work in the targeted 195 cities has not been achieved by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation.

RAY, launched in two phases, was set up for a “slum-free India” with inclusive and equitable cities, where citizens have access to basic civic infrastructure and social amenities and decent shelter. The preparatory phase was for a period of two years with a target of 195 cities. The implementation phase was approved in September 2013.

However, the committee has noted that the preparation activities for phase I of RAY were “tardy.”

“Till date preparatory activities have been completed only in 50 cities of 15 States and work is in progress in 124 cities and is at various stages of completion,” the Committee says.

Reviewing the implementation stage, it says till date 228 cities have been included under RAY and projects have been approved for 145 cities in 22 States. “...The Committee is distressed to note that as on August 1, 2014, 166 detailed project reports have been approved.”

Taking serious note of the pace of work, the Committee seems sceptical of the Ministry’s explanation that RAY has been discontinued and the liabilities created by way of approval of projects are proposed to be subsumed in the new scheme.

“The facts are indicative of the fact that RAY is a battle and the new mission for Urban Housing is a war. The Committee fails to understand as to how the war would be won when the battle was lost in the preparatory phase itself,” the report says.

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