The NDA government’s ambitious program to build houses for the urban poor under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) has failed to find takers in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.
Over a year after it was launched, UP and Delhi are among the handful of states that have failed to send a single proposal to the Union housing and urban poverty alleviation ministry. It’s only after a state sends a proposal that the Centre approves it and releases its share.
Under PMAY, the housing ministry will provide financial assistance to the tune of over Rs 2 lakh crore over the next five years for enabling two crore urban poor own houses by 2022.
According to a 2012 government report, India has an estimated housing shortage of 18.78 million – of which UP accounts for 3.07 million or 16% of the total shortage. Approximately 95% of the total shortage is in the economically weaker section and low-income group category.
Sources said that the housing ministry has in the last one year written 14 letters to the UP government -including four times when urban development and housing minister M Venkaiah Naidu wrote to UP CM Akhilesh Yadav – requesting the state to send proposals under PMAY.
“Besides writing four times to Akhilesh Yadav, Mr Naidu also invited him for a discussion to find out the reason behind the delay. But there has been no response so far,” a senior ministry official said.
The issue may come handy for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during the forthcoming assembly election in the state.
“We will highlight how urban poor have suffered during Akhilesh Yadav’s regime,” a senior BJP leader involved in preparing the campaign strategy in the state said.
Asked about the reason for the delay, Sadakant, UP principal secretary (housing), said, “We had asked all development authorities to send in their respective proposals. They took some time in submitting their plan. The proposals received from them are being compiled and would be dispatched to the Centre soon.”
Similarly, even the Delhi government has not sent a single proposal under PMAY.
“Delhi has not even signed the memorandum of agreement with the Centre to carry out the six governance reforms mandated under PMAY. We have held several meetings with Delhi government officials but are yet to get a response from them,” another housing ministry official said.
The Centre has so far approved 10.95 lakh houses in urban areas with a total investment of Rs 62,740 crore for which central assistance to the tune of Rs 16,289 crore has been approved.
Among the states, Andhra Pradesh tops the list with a maximum number of 19,317 houses approved followed by West Bengal (1,22,259) and Maharashtra (1,15,297).