The Centre has withdrawn Chhattisgarh from the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin with immediate effect. This will mean Chhattisgarh will lose on development work worth more than Rs 11,000 crore annually.
According to Chhattisgarh government, they are in the process of writing to the Centre to undo the decision, as the state could not provide its share due to coronavirus-related expenditure.
An official from the Union Ministry of Rural Development confirmed that this is the “first time we (Centre) have been forced to take” such a step against any state. The official added that Chhattisgarh did not do anything in this regard “despite our persuasion through multiple channels, including meetings with the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary”.
The Centre’s decision to withdraw Chhattisgarh government’s target to build 7,81,999 houses in rural areas in 2021-22 is unprecedented. Under PMAY-G, the Centre and states share expenditure in the ratio of 60:10. In case of the Himalayan states and Union Territories and states in the Northeast, the ratio is 90:10. If a state is not able to contribute matching grants, it raises questions about effective implementation of the scheme.
In a letter to the Additional Chief Secretary of Rural Development Department of Chhattisgarh government, the Centre stated that it withdrew annual target of 7,81,999 homes in rural area for 2021-22. The letter mentioned that the state will not be allowed to seek a target from PMAY-G in future.
The letter dated November 17 said the state had not released its share in the scheme since 2019. It said that despite repeated requests and directions issued, the state had a poor performance under the scheme.
“The State has not shown any satisfactory results in respect of various parameters viz, registration of new houses, sanctioning of houses to PMAY-G beneficiaries, completion of previous allocated houses, etc. under PMAY-G besides release of long pending State share since 2019 till date,” the Centre wrote.
State officials said Central allotment against target for 2021-22 would have been upwards of Rs 5,600 crore. Adding money for construction, the annual cost of developing more than 7 lakh houses would have been Rs 11, 728 crore, a senior officer said.
Senior Chhattisgarh government officials said the state could not provide its share due to money being spent in Covid-related expenditure. “We are going to request them to give us some time to pay back the money,” an officer from the state Public Relations Department said.