The Narendra Modi government’s ambitious project to provide pucca houses to all by 2022 may have to be scaled down, as the progress so far has been rather tepid. After a delayed start in November last year, the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY)-Gramin, the main component of the project, saw construction of just 885 houses in rural areas in FY17, a far cry from the initial target of building 44 lakh houses. The ministry of rural development has now extended the deadline for constructing the 44 lakh houses to the end of 2017, but even this plan looks very ambitious.
As per the original three-year plan, another 33 lakh houses were to be built in 2017-18, but the government is not in a position to adhere to the target. The scheme for urban housing (PMAY-U) has also seen slow progress and the government blames the issue of land acquisition for this. To meet the objective of housing for all by 2022, the 75th year after Independence, the government had launched PMAY-U in mid-2015 to help build affordable houses in cities. However, only about 41,000 houses have been built till end-March 2017, out of the approved 16.3 lakh houses under the scheme by the Centre.
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Under PMAY-U, urban dwellers with an annual income up to Rs 18 lakh get interest subsidy of up to 4% on housing loans of up to Rs 12 lakh. The Centre had budgeted about Rs 5,000 crore including Rs 1,000 crore interest subsidy for PMAY-U in FY17. Under the scheme, the government also gives cash to people taking part in affordable housing projects by private developers.
The slow start of the PMAY-G would make it difficult for the government to achieve the target of helping 1 crore homeless and people living in kutcha houses to shift to pucca houses of 25 square metres by FY19.
PMAY-G entails providing assistance at rates of Rs 1.2 lakh in plain areas and Rs 1.3 lakh in difficult areas. The Centre’s budget outlay was only Rs 15,000 crore for FY17, less than half of required amount of Rs 34,650 crore. The fund sharing pattern for the scheme between Centre and States is 60:40 (90:10 for hilly states).