With an aim to address agriculture distress, the Modi government is building over 51 lakh permanent houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G). It has been learnt that of the 51 lakh houses slated for construction under the scheme in 2017-18, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan – eight lakh, 4.5 lakh and four lakh – account for more than 30% of the houses to be built. All three states go to polls later this year just before the general elections in 2019.
Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Gramin (PMAY-G) or Pradhan Mantri Gramin Aawas Yojana (PMGAY) is a communal welfare program initiated by the government of India with the intention to provide low cost housing to the people residing in the rural areas of the nation. This program is in harmony with the government’s initiative of providing ‘Housing for all’ by the year 2022. The PMAY-G has altered the targets of houses to be constructed and has increased the total number to 1 crore homes by 2022.
According to the data recently made available by the Ministry of Rural Development, construction of houses under Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana (Gramin) has seen a jump of nearly 200% in the last four years. In the financial year 2014-15, a total of 11.91 lakh houses were completed. As of March 21, 2018, 34 lakh houses have been constructed under PMAY-G.
Big move by Modi government, over 50 lakh houses to be built under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana
Over 47.21 lakh PMAY (G) houses are at an advanced stage of completion while first installment of 60 lakh houses has already been released and work is in progress.
Assam and Bihar have one of the highest numbers of incomplete houses. “Bihar had the problem of availability of sand for many months,” the ministry said in a release. The government aims to complete construction of one crore houses under PMAY-Gramin by March 2019.
“We have so far completed 16.02 lakh houses. There are another 35-36 lakh, where beneficiaries have already received the final installment of money to enable completion before March-end” a top Rural Development Ministry official said.
If achieved, the 54 lakh rural houses to be built under central schemes in 2017-18 will be far higher than the 32.24 lakh in 2016-17, 18.24 lakh in 2015-16, 11.89 lakh in 2014-15, 10.49 lakh in 2013-14 and 10.47 lakh in 2012-13.
The idea of constructing pucca homes for one crore-plus rural families may prove politically useful, as beneficiaries would mainly comprise Dalit, Adivasi and Most Backward Classes. The crash in farm commodity prices is seen to have largely impacted the so-called dominant landowning communities such as Jats, Marathas, Patidars, Kapus and Yadavs. While the landless have also been hit, with average all-India annual rural wage growth falling from 6.8 to 4.9% between July and October, the decline is sharper for agricultural (from 8.1 to 4.7%) than for non-agricultural occupations (5.7 to 5.1%).
The beneficiaries under PMAY-G are largely poor rural families without or in houses with less than two rooms made of kutcha walls and roof. The Modi government has identified 2.95 crore such households, based on data from the Socio-Economic and Caste Census of 2011 and verified by the Gram Sabha concerned (to ensure they actually stay in a kutcha home). Out of the 2.95 crore beneficiaries, one crore are to be covered before March 2019 and the rest by 2022.
As per officials at the rural development ministry, as against the target of 75.88 lakh houses allocated to the states under PMAY-Gramin during 2016-18, about 71.01 lakh beneficiaries have been registered, of which 63.72 lakh houses have been geo-tagged.
Around 58.58 lakh beneficiaries have received sanctions for their houses, of which 53.20 lakh and 34.44 lakh beneficiaries have received first and second installments, respectively, as of December 14 for the construction of their houses. As many as 11.57 lakh PMAY-G houses have been completed so far.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin) in November last year, setting a target of completing 1 crore new houses by March 31, 2019. “To meet the challenge of assisting PMAY (G) beneficiaries in construction of their homes by March 2018, the ministry, in partnership with the state governments, has taken many steps, including setting month-wise targets for completion of houses. The target for completion of 10 lakh houses by November, 2017, was achieved before the month ended,” the official said.
Under the housing scheme, the government envisages building affordable ‘pucca’ houses with water facility, sanitation and round-the-clock electricity supply. The payment for construction of the houses is directly transferred into the accounts of the beneficiaries.