The Centre has told the Bhupesh Baghel-led Congress government in Chhattisgarh that if the state is “unable” to implement the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G), the Union Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) will be “compelled” to “reconsider” its support to other “core” rural schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).
It is learnt that this was conveyed by Rural Development Secretary Nagendra Nath Sinha to Chhattisgarh Chief Secretary Amitabh Jain in a letter on August 1.
The Centre’s warning came after Chhattisgarh failed to release its share of funds required to implement the scheme in the state.
Chief Secretary Jain did not respond to phone calls and text messages from The Indian Express for comment.
Sources said the Centre had set a construction target of 7.8 lakh houses under the PMAY-G during the financial year 2021-22. But the MoRD, sources said, was “compelled to withdraw” the target due to the “inability” of the state in releasing the state share, amounting to Rs 562 crore, and “unsatisfactory” progress of the scheme.
In 2020-21, the Centre had allocated a construction target of 6.4 lakh houses under the PMAY-G, out of which the state had “surrendered” 4.9 lakh houses citing “financial constraints and difficulty” in releasing the corresponding state share. The state had retained a target of only 1.5 lakh houses for 2020-21.
Under PMAY-G, the Centre and states share the expenditure in the ratio 60:10. In the case of Himalayan states, Union Territories and states in the North-East, the ratio is 90:10.
On several occasions, the Ministry urged the Chhattisgarh government to release its pending state share for implementation of the PMAY-G, sources said, adding that letters were sent to the state government in June, September and November last year.
Despite meetings and communications, the Chhattisgarh government, sources said, has neither shown “satisfactory progress” nor released the due state share of Rs 562 crore.
As a result, work on the PMAY-G has come to a standstill in the state, sources said.
Chhattisgarh is the only state where the scheme has faced a problem in the last 3-4 years, sources said.
The Centre has urged the state to ensure adequate fund flow for PMAY-G so that all eligible beneficiaries in the state are covered under the scheme.
Sources said that if the state does not release its share under the PMAY-G, the Centre may stop its support under two core schemes like PMGSY and Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission.
Incidentally, the PMAY-G issue was highlighted by T S Singh Deo last month when he resigned from the Baghel government as Minister for Panchayat and Rural Development.
In his resignation letter, non-sanction of funds under the PMAY-G was one of the issues mentioned. Singh Deo said houses could not be constructed for 8 lakh people in the state due to non-sanction of funds.
Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inbox
“Houses were supposed to be constructed for homeless people under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and I had discussed and requested you to allocate money for the same but fund was not made available for the scheme due to which houses for 8 lakh people could not be built,” Singh Deo said in his letter to Baghel on July 16.
He said that the right to house in rural areas was one of the 36 goals mentioned in the manifesto of the Congress party in the state.
“It is a matter of concern that not a single house could be built in the state under the present government and scheme’s progress remained nil. I feel sorry that the scheme’s benefits could not reach the homeless of the state,” Singh Deo said.