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Published on 7/16/2017 2:03:21 PM
Who benefits from Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna?
In April this year, on Ambedkar Jayanti, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that it was his dream that even the poorest of the poor should have a home of his own by 2022 – a home that came with an electricity connection and water in taps. The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna, launched in June 2015, was meant to make that dream a reality. Of the 700 poor families in Pinjana gram panchayat of Kishenganj block of Baran, however, only six have been selected for the grant of housing under this special scheme.

Villagers ask with amazement if the government considers them wealthy. In nearby villages, 20 to 30 families have been assured support under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna.

According to the ideal announced by PM Modi, when the nation celebrates its 75th Independence Day, no family will be left homeless. On June 9, 2014, during a joint session of Parliament, President Pranab Mukherjee said, "By the time the nation completes 75 years of independence, every family will have a pucca house with water connection, toilet facilities, 24X7 electricity supply." (Beneficiaries are necessarily people who do not own pucca houses anywhere in India)

Patel Lalaram Kherua, a resident of the village, said, "A survey conducted in 2011 was used for the purpose of deciding who would get loans at a subsidy for the purpose of house construction. Only six families from our village appear to have made it."

The housing for all scheme comes with four types of provisioning – a plan to rehouse slum dwellers in multi-storey projects (in urban areas), so private developers can build flats that they can sell in the open market in the remaining land acquired from slums; an interest rate subsidy on home loans for the poor; 35% reservation in housing projects for the economically weaker section; and subsidy in beneficiary-led construction.

Pinjana’s residents have not got any of these benefits. Many of the jobless have been forced to migrate out in search of work – some now work in stone quarries in other parts of the state. The children of stone quarry workers can seldom have a settled academic schedule, so many of them are deprived of education and prospects of a better future too.

Rukmini Devi, a resident of the village, said the government has done little to make lives easier for the people of the backward Sahariya tribe in these regions. Traditionally, the Sahariyas have subsisted on forest produce – making baskets, for example - and practiced slash-and-burn agriculture. With forest wealth destroyed, this community now reports high incidence of child malnutrition and joblessness.

The lands their houses stand on is, in the records either revenue or forest land. Title documents to property are necessary to avail any benefits of government programmes. "Only six lucky people have made it to the government list for support for housing – the rest of us will just continue living in our shacks," Kherua said.