- Last month PM said centre has handed over one crore rural homes
- Centre says number includes 68.64 lakh homes made under Congress-era plan
- Completion rate under current scheme 57%, last one was 85%: Centre
The claims made by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government regarding the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) - its flagship scheme for building millions of houses for the underprivileged - may not match the available facts, NDTV has found.
The government had set a target of building one crore rural homes in three years and one crore urban homes in six years.
At an event in Lucknow on July 28 to mark the third anniversary of the government's urban development schemes, including the PMAY, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that they have "sanctioned 54 lakh" urban homes, and have "handed over" 1 crore rural homes.
But official data suggests that figure cited by the Prime Minister for rural homes is off the mark - only about 43 lakh houses had been completed by the end of July, according to the Ministry of Rural Development's website.
To meet the scheme's ambitious target of one crore houses in three years, the government should have completed almost twice that number - 77 lakh houses - by July.
After NDTV aired a report that pointed out the fact, the Ministry of Rural Development sent a clarification saying that the "honourable Prime Minister's statement about completion of 1 crore rural houses is factually correct."
They claimed that the one crore estimate included the number of houses completed not just under PMAY, but also a Congress-era scheme, the Indira Awas Yojana (IAY).
PMAY replaced IAY in 2016-17, as a bigger, better-funded version of the Congress scheme.
"...a total of 1.07 crore rural houses have been completed over the last four years (2014-15 and 2017-18) which include completion of 38.2 lakh PMAY-G houses and 68.64 lakh IAY houses that were sanctioned in 2014-15 and 2015-16 and prior to that," the statement said.
However, the figure cited by the Prime Minister for urban houses - 54 lakhs sanctioned - only pertains to those sanctioned under PMAY, and does not appear to include data from previous urban housing schemes.
Ironically, the inclusion of IAY to pad up the success rate of the PMAY raises questions of the effectiveness of the NDA scheme.
By the government's own data, the completion rate under IAY for its last three years from 2013-14 to 2015-16, was around 85 per cent compared to the completion rate of around 57 per cent for PMAY-Rural.
The urban arm of the PMAY scheme seems even further away from meeting targets. At the moment only 8 lakh urban houses have been completed, only around 20 per cent of what should have been ready by now.
"This scheme (PMAY - Urban) has completed three years. It takes 12-15 months to identify, 12-15 months to get the technology, and then the construction begins... I say this with full responsibility as the minister in the council that the sanctioning part will be over by 2019 end," said Hardeep Singh Puri, the minister of housing and urban affairs.