When Narendra Modi promised that his govt. would provide pucca houses for all he was touching upon a very dear dream of Indians, especially the poorer sections. With current costs, and the kind of earnings that a vast majority make, having a pucca house instead of the usual kuchcha walled, corrugated sheet or even a shanty is a dream for most. So, Modi’s promises, like the ones on jobs or corruption, touched a nerve.
But four years have passed and the ambitious Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) in both its rural and urban branches appears to be falling far behind its target. Less than half the target of nearly one crore homes has been built till now – about 41 lakh out of 95.4 lakh. This is according to latest data put out by the Ministry of Rural Development which is handling the rural component of PMAY.
An enormous amount of funds have been spent by the Central govt. and the state govts. For this scheme - Rs.91,710 crore – over the past three years (from 2015-16 to 2017-18). The central govt. gives Rs.1.2 lakh per unit while the state govt. shares 40% of the cost. The scheme ‘converges’ with MGNREGS for providing labour and also with Swachh Bharat for the toilet. Money is transferred to Aadhaar linked bank accounts. In other words, all of PM Modi’s pet projects are tied up together in this scheme. Selection of beneficiaries is based on the 2011 Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) data which has been ‘validated’ by the gram sabha.
The urban component of the PMAY is primarily targeted for the PPP mode drawing in private builders and developers for land and housing. It is faring even worse. According to a reply given by the minister of housing and urban affairs in the Lok Sabha in March this year, just 2.1 lakh units have been sanctioned till now of which some 67,000 have been completed and 43,574 have been occupied by the owners.
Urban housing shortage estimates are a dime a dozen because of varying parameters used by different agencies. There is a wide difference between even the Census and NSSO. According to a technical group set up by the govt., the latest estimate of urban housing shortage is at least 1 crore units. Compared to that, the Modi govt.’s floundering PMAY is a drop in the ocean.
Fund allocation for the PMAY Urban has also been highly deficient mainly because like all other grandiose PPP models, it has failed to draw in private entities who are not too inspired by the profitability of the scheme. But the govt.’s insistence on involving private sector has meant that urban poor will continue to suffer in hovels.
In the latest of PM Modi’s support gathering initiatives, he held an orchestrated video interaction with PMAY beneficiaries on 5 June, where he waxed eloquent on his govt.’s achievements, reiterating that by 2022, 3 crore rural and 2 crore urban homes will be built (5 crore in all), and ended up criticising those earlier govts. That had not done much on this front. But has Modi Sarkar done as much?