RTI: Of 22 Lakh Houses to Make Gujarat Slum-Free, Only 4% Built
“The applications we receive for housing are 30 times the number of houses we’ve built,” an official said.
In 2012, Narendra Modi had said 22 lakh houses would be built in five years to make urban areas slum-free. However, a Right to Information (RTI) response revealed that barely 4 percent of the promised houses have been constructed. To add to this, of the Rs 14,500 crore assigned to the project, only 27 percent has been allocated – and only two-thirds has been spent.
Let's spell these details out one by one.
RTI Revelation 1: Gujarat Govt Fails to Meet Housing Target
But why were only these many houses made? While the nodal agency of the Mukhya Mantri Gruh Yojana is the Affordable Housing Mission, it is implemented by three agencies.
"The Affordable Housing Mission is the agency that sanctions money for the scheme and receives regular detailed project reports (DPR). The implementing authorities are the respective urban development bodies, the municipality, and the Gujarat Housing Board," Director of Affordable Housing Mission Bhavin Patel told The Quint.
The 2011 Census sheds light on the demand for housing in urban spaces in Gujarat. However, two things need to be kept in mind when looking at the data.
First, this number doesn’t give the complete picture because Census defines slum households as structures that have a roof. This excludes all those living in temporary settlements that do not fall under this definition.
Also, this data is from 2011, and since it’s 2018 now, there is bound to have been a growth in population. However, even according to the 2011 Census, there are 3,45,998 lakh slum households in Gujarat and only 85,046 houses have been built so far.
JS Prajapati, Deputy Municipal Commissioner, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, one of the implementing authorities, said the demand is much higher. "The applications we receive from people are 30 times the number of houses we have constructed. Then we allocate randomly through a computerised lottery."
So, if the demand is high, why aren't houses being built at a faster pace to meet the target of five years? "The construction is the problem. All implementing agencies need to speed up construction," Prajapati told The Quint.
RTI Revelation 2: Less Than 1/3rd of Promised Money Allocated
Let's move to how much of the promised budget was allocated.
The Mukhya Mantri Gruh Yojana found its first mention in the run-up to the 2012 Assembly elections, where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) promised Rs 33,000 crore to build 28 lakh houses in rural areas and 22 lakh houses in urban Gujarat.
Even if we assume that per unit cost of urban and rural housing would be the same, the amount meant for urban housing would be around Rs 14,500 crore. This is a conservative estimate, as urban housing is more expensive than rural housing due to cost of land, etc.
The RTI responses received from the Affordable Housing Mission stated that only Rs 3,972.82 of Rs 14,500 crore had been allocated over the last five years.
RTI Revelation 3: 2/3rd Allocated Budget Spent
The RTI response also revealed that of the Rs 3,973 crore allocated for urban housing, only Rs 2,521 crore has been spent between 2012 and 2017. This accounts for two-third of the allocated amount.
Fifty lakh houses was a grand promise made by the then chief minister Modi, and he has failed to meet the target.
While the RTI queries were filed in October 2017, The Quint received the responses only in the first week of January.
The following are the RTI responses by the Affordable Housing Mission.
Note: The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana was announced in March 2016. Of the 85,046 houses built in urban Gujarat to make it slum-free, 4,609 houses have been constructed under the Central government scheme in 2016-2017.
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