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NSS data shows jump in ‘Housing for All’ in 2018

A total of 16 million homes have been constructed since April 2014. Data shows that numbers of those living in semi-pucca houses has come down from 24.6% to 17.4% during the period. Those living in kutcha houses is down from 9.6% to 5.9%. In other words, 10.5 million rural households living in kutcha houses and dilapidated semipucca houses need a new habitat.

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Dec 07, 2019, 08.40 AM IST
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The latest NSSO survey only confirms that the PMAY (G) is headed in the right direction.
BY AMARJEET SINHA

The July-December 2018 National Sample Survey (NSS) confirms the construction of 19.4 million homes or pucca dwelling units between January 2013 and December 2018 in rural areas. In the NSS 69th Round (July–December 2012), 65.8% houses were pucca. Six years later, this figure has reached 76.7%.

This validates the public data available online of the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G) programme. A total of 16 million homes have been constructed since April 2014. Data shows that numbers of those living in semi-pucca houses has come down from 24.6% to 17.4% during the period. Those living in kutcha houses is down from 9.6% to 5.9%. In other words, 10.5 million rural households living in kutcha houses and dilapidated semipucca houses need a new habitat. This is eminently achievable before August 15, 2022.

Why has the pace picked up with the PMAY-G? Can ‘Housing for All’ in remote rural areas become a reality? How have the so called Bimaru states become the champions of transformation in this scheme?

First, the selection of beneficiaries was done through a transparent, evidence-based approach using three filters. The principal target population of the programme were those with full kutcha homes having two or less rooms. This data was taken from the Socio Economic Census 2011 (SECC 2011) and further validated by the relevant Gram Sabha. Then, the geotagged image of the targeted beneficiary alongside his family standing in front of their kutcha home was made mandatory for further authentication. Provisions for adding more genuine beneficiaries are also proposed, but only after intensive data analytics.

Second, the payments under this programme are mandatorily digital through IT/DBT platforms, going directly into the verified beneficiary account. So, entitlement was evidence-based, financial resources were processed digitally leaving out intermediaries and geo-tagging was compulsory at every pre-identified stage of construction. The pictures of each of these 16 million houses constructed since April 2014 can be accessed on the programme portal (pmayg.nic.in).

Third, before starting the programme, architects and engineers travelled across the country to identify design types suitable for different regions. They also identified locallyavailable material, which could be used for making these homes.

Fourth, there is a specially designed 45-Day skilling programme for rural masons. Besides masonry, these included shuttering, bar bending, plumbing, carpentry, among other skills.

Fifth, the unit cost of the house was kept at Rs. 1.2 lakh in plain areas and Rs. 1.3 lakh in hill areas with a provision for Rs. 12,000 for a toilet and 90-95 days of unskilled wages under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). The unit cost was kept respectable to allow for quality homes to be constructed. Beneficiaries also pooled in with their savings to make additions according to their preferences.

Sixth, innovative systems of monitoring were evolved to ensure healthy competition among Blocks, Districts, and States on pre-defined parameters. The average number of days for construction of a house were brought down from 314 days in 2015-16 to 114 days in 2017-18 (NIPFP Study 2018).

Seventh, convergence among different schemes ensured that these homes had a toilet, gas connection, electricity connection etc. Many States also provided Individual Beneficiary Schemes like animal shed, land and water works along with the homes. Joint ownership of homes by the women was also promoted.

Eighth, the housing targets of States was in accordance with the requirements of the deprived. As a consequence, poorer regions of the country have got more houses. The big goal: Not a single homeless will be left out in ‘housing for all’. The latest NSSO survey only confirms that the PMAY (G) is headed in the right direction.

(Amarjeet is a civil servant. The views expressed are personal)
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column are that of the writer. The facts and opinions expressed here do not reflect the views of www.economictimes.com.)

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