A year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) with the stated purpose of constructing two crore houses for the urban poor by 2022—at the rate of 30 lakh houses per year merely 1,623 houses have been constructed so far. The number of houses sanctioned, even on paper, stands at just seven lakh as on June 25, 2016, the first anniversary of the PMAY that goes by the slogan ‘Housing for All by 2022’. Of the completed houses, 718 have been built in Chhattisgarh, 823 in Gujarat, both under ‘affordable housing in partnership’ which is one of the four verticals of the scheme.
The sub-scheme gives a subsidy of Rs 1.50 lakh per dwelling unit to builders, government or para-statal agencies that reserve at least 35 per cent of their project for constructing 250 sq ft homes for the economically weaker sections (EWS). Another 82 houses have been built in Tamil Nadu under the Beneficiary-led construction scheme under which Rs 1.50 lakh per unit is given to needy beneficiaries who want to construct a new house or upgrade their existing one.
About 7,700 people have taken the benefit of the third component: credit-linked subsidy sub-component. Under this, interest subsidy of 6.5 per cent is offered by the government for home loans of up to Rs 6 lakh for those from EWS and low income group (LIG) families. The worst performance has been in the sub-component of in-situ redevelopment of slums under which not a single house has been built till date. The model relies heavily on builders taking up redevelopment of slum clusters wherein in return of rehabilitating the slum residents on part of the land, they are allowed to use the remaining land, private or public, for constructing houses for sale in the market. The scheme is based on existing slum redevelopment models of Gujarat and Mumbai. Of the 51 sanctioned projects under the sub-scheme, 45 are in Gujarat with rarely any takers from elsewhere.
According to Chandana Das, housing activist from the Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA), the slum component is based on the Mumbai’s SRA model which itself has not been very successful. In Mumbai, the SRA scheme has been able to house merely 1 lakh slum dwellers in 15 years as against the target of 8 lakh in five years with only slums in prime pockets being taken up by private developers who capitalised on a majority of the freed land.