Migrants returning home during the lockdown helped construct 18 lakh rural houses by bringing down the time taken for building a unit from 125 days to 45-60 days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Saturday.
Modi was addressing a virtual housewarming ceremony for 1.75 lakh houses built in rural parts of Madhya Pradesh under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Gramin scheme during the pandemic.
He hailed the increased construction speed as the “best example of turning a crisis into an opportunity”.
“This has become possible as the migrants who returned home during the lockdown also joined work and availed benefits of the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan, under which Rs 23,000 crore has been spent on infrastructure and other work,” he said.
The migrants who returned home were employed under this campaign, whose expenditure also helped the construction-related businesses, the Prime Minister said. “This campaign has helped the rural economy.”
Earlier, everything related to houses for the poor was centralised in Delhi and the beneficiaries were not involved in the process, Modi added.
“There was government interference and lack of transparency. The beneficiaries, who had to live in those houses, were not asked (about their requirements) and colony system of urban areas was forced upon the people in tribal areas. The needs of the rural population were different,” he said.
The PM alleged that in the past, the houses were of poor quality and lacked basic amenities, which is why people did not move into them. “Given these experiences and their study, we amended the old scheme with a new thought. Transparency was given priority…,” he said.
During the ‘Grih Pravesham’ ceremony, the Prime Minister virtually inaugurated the houses and spoke with select beneficiaries of the PMAY scheme.
Union Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan too were present at the event.
Referring to his Independence Day announcement of laying optical fiber lines in around 6 lakh villages in the next 1.000 days, Modi said over 5,000 km of such cables has been laid in 116 districts in just a few weeks.
So far, about 15,000 Wi-Fi hot spots and about 19,000 optical fiber connections have been made available in more than 1,200 Gram Panchayats, he said.
Today, every service of the government has been made online so that the benefits are also fast, there is “no corruption” and the villagers do not have to rush to the city for even small work, the Prime Minister said.
Under PMAY, a beneficiary is given timely installments spread over a year allowing them to construct pucca houses.