Way back in 1985, the Indian government introduced a rural public housing initiative known as the Indira Awas Yojana (IAY). Run by the Ministry of Rural Development, the primary aim of the programme was to provide shelter for the homeless and people below the poverty line.
In 2015, the IAY was expanded to address housing issues for the urban as well as the rural poor and the homeless with the launch of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) scheme. The scheme held much promise and hope with its aim of building over 20 million houses by 2022 under PMAY-Gramin (PMAY-G) for the rural poor, and PMAY-Urban (PMAY-U) for the urban poor.
Under PMAY-U, households falling under the Economically Weak Section, Low Income Group, and Middle Income Group qualify for the benefits of this scheme. Under PMAY-G, individuals who are homeless or live in one or two-room kutcha houses are eligible. Individuals will be awarded monetary assistance of 1.20 lakhs for completing their houses within specified parameters of size and dimension.
The first phase of the scheme aimed to build one crore houses in rural areas under PMAY-G by 2019 and the second phase targeted over 51 lakh houses to be completed in the financial year 2019-20. Overall, the government had set a target of 2.95 crore housing units to be built under PMAY-G by 2022.
According to an ICRA study, PMAY-G has moved at a faster pace with 84% of houses completely constructed as of August 2019 compared to only 34% under PMAY-U.
At last count in December 2019, as per PMAY (U) statistics, the government has sanctioned over 96 lakh houses. Approximately 56 lakh were under construction of which 28 lakh have already been finished. According to Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri, all 1.12 crore housing units will be sanctioned by March 2020 and delivered by 2022.
At 12.96 lakh, UP has received approvals for the highest number of units for PMAY-U followed by Andhra Pradesh at 12.48 lakh units.
By December 2019, there have been 97.9 lakh houses sanctioned under PMAY-G in Phase One with 85.97 lakh units already completed. Phase Two targets the completion of 1.95 crore houses by March 2022, of which 39.97 lakh units have received sanctions, and 3.30 lakh units have been completed.
The investment in the PMAY scheme has managed to keep an otherwise sluggish housing sector dynamic. So far, State governments have invested approximately 5.7 lakh crore with an additional 1.6 lakh crore from the Central government for sanctioning houses under PMAY-U.
Social auditing exercise
Recently, the government introduced a set of guidelines, including best practices for the social auditing of the PMAY scheme. The government defines a social audit as “a participatory monitoring exercise used to systematically assess the progress of the PMAY mission.”
The social audit guidelines are expected to help each State measure, report, and improve PMAY’s performance in its territory. However, only Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Mizoram and Manipur have submitted their social audit reports so far.
The Union Housing and Affairs Ministry launched the “Angikaar campaign” in August 2019 to merge PMAY-U beneficiaries with other government schemes like Ujjwala for gas connections, Jal Shakti for water management and Ayushman Bharat for life insurance.