Since 2016-’17, the budget for the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, the flagship housing scheme of the government, has increased 280% from Rs 20,936 crore in the revised estimates of 2016-’17 to Rs 79,590 crore in the latest 2023-’24 budget. Yet, the targets for the number of houses to be built under this scheme are yet to be met.
The original ‘housing for all’ scheme was announced in the budget speech of 2015-’16, by then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, with a target of building 20 million houses in urban areas and 40 million houses in rural areas by 2022. The scheme was later restructured in 2016, with a target of 29.5 million houses in rural areas. Of this target, 21.3 million houses were completed, as of February 10.
Under Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana-Urban, 12.27 million houses were sanctioned, the deadline for which was extended until December 2024 from the original deadline of December 2022.
Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana is a housing scheme of the Union government, directed towards providing affordable housing to the urban as well as rural poor. Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin is a rural housing scheme under the Ministry of Rural Development, and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban is under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
Here are the details of the scheme’s current status:
- Nearly three-fourths (72%) of the houses sanctioned under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin, and around half the houses (55%) targeted under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban, have been completed, as per latest official data.
- 12.27 million houses have been sanctioned under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban, of which 6.8 million had been completed as on February 6 as per the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban dashboard.
- The initial target year for the construction of 29.4 million houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin was 2022, which has now been extended to March 2024. Of this target, 21.3 million houses were completed, as of February 10.
The rural budget
The rural budget
The Awas Yojana budget estimate for 2023-’24 constitutes an allocation of Rs 25,103 crore to Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban and Rs 54,487 crore to Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin. Despite the increase in overall allocations for the Awas Yojana, the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban budget estimate for 2023-’24 declined 10% from 2022-’23. The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin outlay increased by 172%.
There are several challenges for the scheme.
These include administrative delays – such as those between sanctioning a home and various stages of verification, Neeha Susan Jacob, senior research associate at the Accountability Initiative, Centre for Policy Research, told FactChecker.
For Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin specifically, another issue is the identification of eligible citizens by Gram Panchayats, said Jacob, which was also pointed out by the Standing Committee on Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, 2021-’22. Officials in Gram Panchayats who identify eligible citizens for the programme could be biased or be politically motivated in whom they choose, the report says. This possibility of biased eligibility for the programme is compounded by the lack of access to grievance redressal mechanisms for the economically and socially deprived sections of the population.
“There can be geographical challenges too. For instance, hilly states in the North East, like Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland, face adverse climatic conditions and geographies…it takes them far longer to build a house than the norms stipulate,” Jacob added.
FactChecker reached out to Gaya Prasad, the deputy director general, and Shailesh Kumar, director of the housing wing of department of rural development and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs for comment on the achievement of the Awas Yojana targets, and whether the additional budget will help attain the rural targets. We will update the story when we receive a response.
This article first appeared on FactChecker.in, a publication of the data-driven and public-interest journalism non-profit IndiaSpend.