- The Standing Committee on Rural Development (Chair: Dr. P Venugopal) submitted its report on Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana- Gramin (PMAY-G) on August 31, 2016. The PMAY-G is a rural housing scheme which was previously being implemented as the Indira Awaas Yojana. In order to achieve the objective of ‘housing for all 2022’, IAY was restructured as PMAY-G in March 2016. The salient observations and recommendations of the Committee include:
- Performance of the scheme: Between 2012 and 2016, the number of houses constructed fell short of the target by 44 million units. The Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) needs to obtain relevant and accurate data from states that either have their own schemes for rural housing or provide additional resources to beneficiaries. This will help in accurately estimating the actual rural housing shortage in the country.
- Difference between number of houses targeted and constructed: During the last three years, 2013-14 to 2015-16, a huge gap has been observed between the number of houses targeted and constructed. The number of houses that were not constructed were 8.8 lakh in 2013, 8.6 lakh in 2014 and 2.7 lakh in 2015. For 2016-17, states such as West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh have not set annual targets, which makes it difficult to measure their performance.
- Evaluating performance: There is discrepancy in data with regard to achievement of targets under PMAY-G during 2015-16, with some states showing achievement in excess of 100%. This is because work completed includes backlog of previous years as well, which may make the data misleading. Work completed with regard to construction of houses should be documented for one financial year and should not include any backlog. The work done in relation to clearing backlogs should be shown separately.
- Insufficient funding: Evaluation of financial performance under PMAY-G highlights issues such as insufficiency of funds, significant gaps between allocation and releases, and under-utilisation of released amount in the last few years. For example, from 2012-13 to 2014-15, budget outlays were significantly reduced at the revised estimate stage. Reductions and year-wise variations in releases should be avoided to ensure free flow of funds.
- Upgradation of kutcha houses: Large number of kutcha houses are present in the states of Bihar (65.65lakh), Uttar Pradesh (48.3 lakh), Madhya Pradesh (47.45 lakh), etc. Special initiatives should be undertaken by the MoRD, state governments and other stakeholders to initiate the process of upgradation of houses. This will also help achieve the objective of housing for all by 2022 in a time-bound manner.
- Multi-story houses: Construction of multi-story houses where land is unavailable should be allowed under the scheme. Multi-story buildings will not only minimise the need for extra land but will also create the possibility of accommodating more number of units on lesser number of plots.