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New Delhi: The union cabinet has approved the extension of flagship urban housing scheme -- Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) -- till December 31, 2024.

Launched in 2015, the original deadline for the scheme aimed at providing affordable housing with incentives was March 2022. It was launched with the aim to achieve housing for all by 2022.

Central assistance approved since 2015 is 2.03 trillion. Up to 31 March 2022, central assistance or subsidy of 1.18 trillion has already been released and 85,406 crore will be released as central assistance till 31 December 2024, the said a statement from the housing ministry.

The continuation of the scheme based on the request of states and union territories up to 31 December 2024 will help in completion of already sanctioned houses.

Recently, the Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs, Kaushal Kishore told the parliament said the government is considering to extend the flagship scheme up to 2024.

In a written reply in Lok Sabha, Kishore said: "A proposal seeking extension of the Mission up to March 2024, to complete all houses sanctioned under the scheme up to March 31, 2022 without changing the funding pattern and implementation methodology, is under consideration. Meanwhile, an interim extension of 6 months for all verticals except Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme has been granted."

According to data on the PMAY site, a total of 12.26 million houses have been sanctioned so far, out of which 61.77 lakh houses have been completed.

The extension comes at a time the pandemic has impacted the completion of projects under the scheme.

During the budget speech for FY23, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had stressed upon faster clearances for projects of urban housing.

“The central government will work with the state governments for reduction of time required for all land and construction related approvals, for promoting affordable housing for middle class and economically weaker sections in urban areas. We shall also work with the financial sector regulators to expand access to capital along with reduction in cost of intermediation," she had said.

In December 2021, the cabinet had approved the extension of the rural housing scheme, PMAY-Gramin (Rural) till March 2024.

Housing for all is one of the major flagship programmes being implemented by government of India to provide all weather pucca houses to all eligible beneficiaries in the urban areas of the country through states, union territories and central nodal agencies. The scheme covers the entire urban area of the country -- all statutory towns as per Census 2011 and towns notified subsequently.

The scheme is being implemented through four verticals, Beneficiary Led Construction (BLC), Affordable Housing in Partnership (AHP), In-situ Slum Redevelopment (ISSR) and Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS). While Centre provides the financial assistance, state governments and union territories implement the scheme including selection of beneficiaries.

In another decision, the union cabinet chaired approved the ratification of amendments to the Constitution of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) to ensure further legal clarity and stability to the acts of the union.

According to the government, the approval enables the Department of Posts to have the “Instrument of Ratification" signed by the President of India and have the same deposited with the Director General of the International Bureau of the Universal Postal Union.

“This would fulfil the obligations arising from Article 25 and 30 of the UPU Constitution which provides for ratification of the amendments to the Constitution adopted by a Congress as soon as possible by the member countries," said a statement from the ministry of communications.

The amendments to the constitution of UPU adopted by the 27th UPU Congress ensure further legal clarity and stability to the Acts of the union, bring terminological consistencies, resolve many long-standing discrepancies in the text and accommodate provisions for ‘acceptance or approval’ of the Acts in consistency with Vienna Conventions on Law of Treaties, 1969, the government further said.

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