NEW DELHI :
With the deadline to build 10 million houses for India’s rural population just about two months away, the government is pushing states to allot plots to the landless population to achieve the target for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious “Housing for All" programme.
A senior official of the rural development ministry urged state and Union territory governments to allot land to more than 400,000 people to ensure the target can be met by the 31 March deadline.
“Providing land to landless beneficiaries is crucial to achieve the target of construction of 1 crore houses," said Prashant Kumar, joint secretary, rural housing, in a 4 January letter.
“Landless beneficiaries are the most deserving PMAY-G (Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana–Gramin) beneficiaries. As reported by states/Union territories, only 56,694 (12%) PMAY-G beneficiaries have been provided land for house construction out of the identified 472,345 landless beneficiaries," according to letter.
Separately, the rural development ministry is also rushing to complete the construction of 3.34 million houses by 31 March, given only 6.66 million rural houses have been completed, the ministry said in a statement over the weekend. The ministry is optimistic that the remaining 3.34 million houses will be completed as per the deadline.
Citing a study commissioned by the ministry, it said: “The average time taken from the first instalment to completion for a PMAY-G home is only 114 days, compared to 314 days earlier."
The development comes amid an uptick in farm distress, which has also been attributed to the defeats of the Bharatiya Janata Party governments in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan in recent assembly polls. Last week, the centre had announced an additional ₹6,000 crore for the rural employment guarantee scheme—the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS)—aimed at ensuring adequate resources for the programme, which seeks to provide 100 days of unskilled employment a year to small farmers and agricultural labourers in times of rural distress.