Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY). Central monitoring teams have been deployed in West Bengal

A bitter confrontation has begun between the Centre and states over the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna-Gramin (PMAY). Central monitoring teams have been deployed in West Bengal to look into allegations of widespread irregularities in allocations under the flagship scheme, which has sent the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Trinamool Congress on a standoff path yet again.
Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna-Gramin
While the saffron party has repeatedly alleged massive corruption in the beneficiary selection, the regional outfit has accused the former of attempts to tarnish the image of the Mamata Banerjee government. With panchayat elections due in April, the rural housing scheme has emerged as a flashpoint between the two political rivals that have always been on a collision course. The BJP’s allegations of ineligible beneficiaries finding their way into the list of allottees have been met with TMC’s accusation of the Centre blocking funds to the eastern state.

Not far away—in Odisha—the PMAY is in the midst of a snowballing controversy. Both the ruling Biju Janata Dal and the opposition BJP are busy exchanging barbs over its implementation. Now that the Centre has released 9.5 lakh dwelling units in Odisha and a provisional list of beneficiaries was published
last week by the state government, the contentious issue is back on the boil.

The Centre released 27.5 lakh houses to Odisha under PMAY in two phases, with 18 lakh released in the first phase. The Awaas Plus portal was open for a year and a half from 2018. The BJD wanted the portal to be opened again to include additional beneficiaries because 2019 saw electioneering and the wrath of Cyclone FANI, necessitating the inclusion of more names.

The BJP has countered this by saying the ruling party failed to utilise the period to include beneficiaries, besides accusing it of hijacking the scheme and using it to derive political mileage. Issues relating to eligibility, guidelines and identification have only added to the friction. It is about time the Centre and the states found ways to sort out this mess because the needy have missed out on benefits for far too long. The pandemic brought unspeakable misery to the poorer sections, and for the past three years, the construction of houses has been moving at a snail’s pace. When elephants fight, the grass gets trampled. That is exactly what is happening with PMAY now.


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