Cracks in Modi's pet 'Housing-for-All' Scheme

Some houses built under PMAY-G developed cracks, target for 2017-2019 missed too 

Some of the houses built under a component of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ambitious “Housing for All” programme have already developed cracks, the union Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) has acknowledged.

The MoRD noted in a communiqué to the State Governments that some of the houses built under the Rural Mason Training component of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Gramin (or PMAY-G) were of poor quality and some had even developed cracks. The ministry also pointed out that the some of the houses found to be of poor quality had been built for the old or infirm or minor or people with disability.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been highlighting the “Housing for All” scheme during electioneering for the Lok Sabha polls, notwithstanding the fact that the PMAY-G programme in fact already failed to reach its first target of building dwelling units for one crore rural households by March 31 this year.

The Modi Government restructured the erstwhile rural housing scheme Indira Awaas Yojana to launch the PMAY-G with effect from April 1, 2016.

Prime Minister, himself, formally launched the PMAY-G on November 20, 2016. The restructured scheme is aimed at providing 'pucca' (built with brick and cement) houses with basic amenities to all households, which either have no house or have just 'kutcha' (built with mud and thatch) and dilapidated houses, by 2022.

The BJP-led Government at the Centre also set an immediate target for the PMAY (G) – building houses for at least one crore beneficiaries by the end of 2018-19 financial year.

But only about 76.31 lakh houses could be built under the PMAGY (G) against the target of constructing houses for one crore rural households till March 31 this year, according to a recent communiqué from the MoRD to the State Governments.

The field visits by the officials had showed that some of the houses built under the Rural Mason Training (RMT) – a component of the PMAY-G – were “not of good quality” and “at some places” the houses had “even developed cracks”, the MoRD wrote in another communiqué sent out to the State Governments on April 4 last.

“Since, the houses built under the RMT are model houses constructed under training programme imparting skills to the trainees and generally belong to the old and infirm beneficiaries, the quality and durability of such houses must be given prime importance,” the MoRD wrote to the State Governments.

The MoRD introduced the RMT as a component of the PMAY-G with the twin objective of ensuring quality and timely construction of the houses under the “Housing for All” programme and generating additional livelihood and creating career progression avenues for the rural masons. The Government on February 11 informed the Rajya Sabha in response to a question that 49,534 candidates had been enrolled for the RMT programme while 37,549 of them had been assessed and 30,999 had been issued certificates till January 21.

The Framework for Implementation of the PMAY-G programme provided that while identifying construction site for the RMT, priorities should be given on engaging the trainers and trainees to build houses of old or infirm or minor beneficiaries or persons with disability, who could not construct the houses on their own.

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