by Akhilesh K Prasad
Launched in early 2015, the “Housing for All by 2022” is a flagship project of the Modi government. It seeks to address the housing requirements of Economically Weaker Sections (EWS), Lower Income Groups (LIG) and Middle Income Groups (MIG). The government recognises that there is an urgent need for urban housing as the number of people migrating to urban centres in search of employment and better opportunities is likely to increase manifold in the coming years.
The project struck a chord with beneficiaries and those in anticipation. It was listed among the reasons for Modi government winning a second term in the recently concluded general elections.
However, ever since its inception, the scheme has been under constant scrutiny and has had to face several challenges both at the central and state level. Lack of policy framework and high construction costs only added to the woes.
Under the scheme, the government set a target of 1 crore houses. According to the data presented by the MoHUA to the Lok Sabha, as on 31st of January 2019 a total of 15, 263 projects under “Housing for all” mission had been approved for the construction of 72,65,763 houses. While 14, 42,796 houses had been completed, 37, 54,871 had been grounded for construction.
Interestingly, 57% of the total houses sanctioned were in 5 states; Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. At 43%, Gujarat topped the list of states in terms of completion of sanctioned houses, followed by Rajasthan at 31% and West Bengal at 29%. In fact, 80% of the total sanctioned houses in Gujarat and Telangana were said to be grounded for construction.
In February 2019, it was reported that only 20% of the houses sanctioned under the PMAY-U has been completed. Another 52% were under construction. Out of Rs. 1 lakh crore central assistance sanctioned for the scheme, only Rs. 34,000 crore had been released.
As per the MoHUA, over 80.96 lakh homes have already been sanctioned in urban areas under Housing for All scheme between 2014 and May-end 2019. 61% of the sanctioned houses have already been completed or occupied. The remaining 39% are currently under various stages of construction. Considering that only 47% of the sanctioned houses were completed or occupied by March 2019, it is quite evident that work has been speeded up lately.
Now that the Modi government is back in power, it is expected that the pace of completion will not only be maintained but is likely to be speeded up. The MoHUA has requested states to saturate their demand for houses under PMAY-U at the earliest and also to adopt modern, innovative green technologies and building material for faster construction of houses without compromising on quality.
Though achieving the mission target by 2022 may still be a tall order, it may be achieved before the government completes its current tenure in 2024.