Why Jharkhand govt has approved a new Rs 16,000 crore housing scheme

Why Jharkhand govt has approved a new Rs 16,000 crore housing scheme

Context- The Jharkhand Cabinet, last week, approved the ‘Abua Awas Yojna’ (AAY) — a housing scheme for the poor, which will provide eight lakhs pucca houses to the homeless in the state, and has a total budget of Rs 16,320 crore.

(Credits- indiahousingreport.in)

The scheme will be implemented in three phases, with a target of 2 lakh houses in the current financial year; 3.5 lakh houses in FY 2024-25 and 2.5 lakh houses in FY 2025-26.

Given that Jharkhand already has multiple housing schemes, what was the need for AAY?

  • Existing Union Government schemes like Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Rural or Ambedkar Awas Yojna have been around for a while.
  • As per data from the state government, 16 lakh families have been beneficiaries of PMAY-Rural, and 50,000 families have benefited from Ambedkar Housing Scheme since the formation of Jharkhand in 2000. Nonetheless, these schemes have been unable to cover all eligible beneficiaries.
  • Since 2016, SECC (2011) data was being used to identify the beneficiaries. Certain problems regarding this came to fore when Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren (in Nov’22) and Minister of Rural Development Alamgir Alam (in Feb’23) wrote to Union Minister of Rural Development Giriraj Singh that around 8 lakh eligible beneficiaries had been left out of the ambit of housing schemes.
  • The list included 2 lakh beneficiaries’ wrong entry in the database as being ‘not eligible’ in addition to other discrepancies.

What exactly will AAY provide?

  • A three-room and one kitchen house with a total area of 31 sq m will be provided under this scheme.
  • The government has set aside Rs 2 lakh per beneficiary in its budget, to be disbursed in four instalments. In comparison, under PMAY-Rural, a house with only two rooms and one kitchen is constructed, with a provision of Rs 1.2-1.3 lakh per beneficiary.
  • There is also a provision, under this scheme, for beneficiaries to work under the MGNREGS and get wages of upto 95 unskilled man-days as per the current wage rate, for building the house. There is also a provision to add a toilet in the construction of the house, with the help of Swaccha Bharat Mission funds or any other available scheme fund.
  • Notably, all houses built under AAY will be mandatorily registered on the name of the women in the beneficiary families.

Who will be the eligible beneficiaries?

As per the cabinet note, people belonging to six categories will benefit from AAY:

  1. People living is kutcha houses;
  2. The homeless or unattended;
  3. People from Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) will be given priority;
  4. Families affected by any natural calamity;
  5. Bonded labourers who were rescued as per the legal process; and
  6. Such people who have not been made beneficiary of any other housing schemes.

After taking the above parameters into consideration, a list will be prepared by the Gram Sabhas and a maximum of eight points will be given to prospective beneficiaries who fulfil all six criteria. The list of beneficiaries will then be prepared as per the marks obtained.

Is there any exclusion criteria?

Yes. Below are the criteria which make one ineligible for the scheme:

  1. People owning four wheeler or a fishing boat;
  2. People owning three or four wheeler vehicle used for agricultural purposes;
  3. People working or retired from government or semi-government jobs;
  4. Any member of the family elected as a public representative;
  5. Any income tax payer;
  6. Any person paying professional tax;
  7. A family having a refrigerator;
  8. A family having a 2.5 acre of land with a minimum of one irrigation equipment, or having 5 acres of irrigated land.

Conclusion- States launching their own housing schemes to bridge gaps and address deficiencies is a step in the right direction. It will ensure that all eligible beneficiaries are covered and thus, inclusive development is achieved.

Syllabus- GS-3; Infrastructure

Source- Indian Express