In a remarkable development, the Indian government has expedited its timeline to achieve the ambitious ‘housing for all’ initiative in rural India. According to an official release by the rural development ministry, the new deadline for this initiative, which could have significant implications for the upcoming 2024 general election, is now set for December 2023.
The ‘housing for all’ initiative, executed under the PM Awas Yojana (Gramin), was launched with the lofty goal of providing 29.5 million houses for beneficiaries in rural India. As of September 30, the government has already constructed an impressive 24.5 million houses, inching closer to fulfilling this crucial commitment.
The early advancement of the deadline by three months, if successfully realized, could be a pivotal achievement for the government, enhancing its prospects in the political arena. This commendable feat reflects the government’s unwavering dedication to ensuring every family in rural India has a house to call their own.
Under the PM Awas Yojana (Gramin) and the Indira Awas Yojana, the central government has, since 2014, constructed an astounding 32.1 million rural houses. This monumental undertaking was supported by an allocation of Rs 2.48 lakh crore.
Financial support for the ‘housing for all’ initiative is further exemplified by the government’s funding strategy. In most states, the central government contributes 60% of the construction cost, with state governments sharing the rest. Notably, in northeastern and hilly states, the central government’s contribution rises to 90%, and for Union territories, it reaches 100%. This augmented financial commitment underscores the government’s determination to make housing accessible for all.
Furthermore, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) has played a vital role in providing employment opportunities in rural areas. Since 2014, over Rs 6.63 lakh crore has been released under MGNREGS, generating a staggering 26.44 billion person-days of employment. The program has successfully addressed the increasing demand for jobs in rural India, with the rural development ministry expressing openness to securing additional funds in the current fiscal year to further support MGNREGS.
The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, a critical infrastructure initiative, has facilitated the completion of over 7,44,000 km of roads and connected more than 1,62,000 rural habitations through all-weather roads. This achievement has substantially improved connectivity in rural areas, opening doors to new opportunities and development.
Under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojna (National Rural Livelihoods Mission), an astounding 73.3 million women have been mobilized into self-help groups (SHGs). Banks have disbursed loans exceeding Rs 7.22 lakh crore to these SHGs. Remarkably, the non-performing loans in this segment stand at a mere 1.88%, well below the 3.9% non-performing assets in the broader banking system as of March 2023.
The ministry’s vision is to reach 100 million women through SHGs by December, with a target of making at least 20 million of them ‘lakhpati’ (millionaires). This underscores the government’s commitment to economic empowerment in rural areas.
In addition to housing and employment initiatives, the government’s water storage project, Mission Amrit Sarovar, has seen the development and rejuvenation of over 67,000 ‘Amrit Sarovars’ (water bodies) in rural areas. The mission’s goal is to create and revitalize at least 75 water bodies in every district, ensuring improved water resources for rural communities.
In conclusion, the Indian government’s efforts to provide housing for all in rural India, coupled with its comprehensive rural development initiatives, are making remarkable strides. The advancement of the ‘housing for all’ deadline is a promising step forward, reflecting the government’s resolute commitment to the welfare and prosperity of rural India.