Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban (PMAY-U) like its rural counterpart has a noble objective of providing houses for the homeless poor. Under this programme, 1.12 crore houses are aimed to be constructed and that too by 2022. However, the performance under this programme so far makes us to worry about the possibility of slippages which are a general norm of any government programme.
According to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, a total of 109,82,808 houses have so far been sanctioned under the PMAY(U). But sanctioning is not the end of the project, just the beginning of it. While execution of the programme is an uphill task, ensuring the timely completion of the project is even more difficult.
According to the MHUA, out of this, 71,40,846 are at various stages of construction and 41,78,578 have been completed/ delivered. In other words, till now less than 40% of the houses planned have been constructed, completed and delivered and more than 60% of the project has to be completed within next one year or so. Yes, outbreak of Covid-19 has put a break on the project execution but even without the pandemic we wouldn’t have been in a comfortable position vis-à-vis the schedule.
In order to meet the deadline, we have to complete and deliver more than five lakh houses every month under the scheme till the end of FY 2021-22. This is doable but enough precautions need to be taken to ensure that quality is not sacrificed.
Though the on-ground implementation of the scheme is done by States/UTs through their Urban Local Bodies/Implementing Agencies in the spirit of cooperative federalism, MHUA regularly monitors the progress of implementation of the scheme through periodic review meetings/video-conferencing and field visits. So, the blame for slippages should be shared both at the local as well as central level by the respective governments.
One should agree that there are some positive aspects too about this scheme. This housing scheme has the coverage of all the 4521 statutory towns of the country. In addition, planning areas of all Development Authorities have also been covered under PMAY (U). This scheme has brought a paradigm shift in approach by including non-slum beneficiaries in its ambit as against earlier housing schemes. Therefore, we should not slip on the execution side and ensure that the scheme achieves its goal by the scheduled time.
It should be noted that construction activities have strong forward and backward linkages with other sectors in the economy. Therefore, the impact on employment can be both direct and indirect. The total investment made in the construction of the houses is churning the economy through providing direct employment coupled with induced impact on broadly 21 sectors of the economy like steel, cement, glass, brick, wood and certain consumer durables etc.
Therefore, Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown should not become an excuse for not meeting the deadline and all efforts should be made to meet the target under any circumstances. By achieving the target, we will be able to provide not only houses for the homeless but also job for the jobless people.