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A New UDAY in the Lives of Delhi’s Poor

PM UDAY scheme

As many as 40 lakh people got a new lease of life when the Modi government implemented PM-UDAY scheme in Delhi. What does this scheme mean for those beneficiaries, residing in these 1,800 unauthorised colonies? To put it simply, this move is a step towards ensuring dignity in the lives of thousands of families. They no longer live in the constant fear of evacuation and they now can demand for all the civic amenities as their right.

When this huge measure that lightened up the lives of Delhi’s poor, the Chief Minister of Delhi also rushed to claim credit. But this article presents the facts that are countering his tall claims.

Pro-poor Measure

The Modi government approved and introduced the Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies Act, 2019 in the Parliament, and it was passed by both houses of parliament. The government then formulated the PM-UDAY scheme (Prime Ministers- Unauthorized colonies in Delhi Awas Adhikar Yojana) to facilitate regularisation of the colonies and handing over the properties to the concerned residents.

The decision brings relief to 40 lakh people living in these colonies as they will be granted ownership rights to their properties. Further, it will spur development in Delhi as better amenities and facilities can now finally reach these colonies and its inhabitants.

Bringing Dignity and Security to 40 lakh Residents

This central law and scheme in effect ensures that residents who were living in fear will now have peace of mind. They will get ownership of their houses and have access to infrastructure and civic amenities.

This will give them authority to take permission for loans and further avail loans for construction and expansion/repairs. Now that they have been regularised central and state governments as well as municipal corporations can provide their whole range of services there too.

It is also important to note that Modi government’s decision to regularize  unauthorized colonies does not include 69 “affluent colonies” identified by DDA such as Sainik Farms, Mahendru Enclave and Anant Ram Dairy, and those built in forest land, thus it is truly a pro-poor eco-conscious measure.

Keeping in mind the economic situation of the residents of the unauthorized colonies, government also decided that only 0.5% of the circle rate will be levied for obtaining ownership rights of property on government land for plots with carpet area less than 100 sq mt.

In addition to providing them a legitimate claim to property, PM-UDAY scheme also encourages resident to invest in safe structures, thereby improving the living conditions in these unauthorized colonies substantially post regularisation.

A Government that Works-Fast

A set of procedures needs to be followed before land rights can be conferred to residents in unauthorized colonies. When Kejriwal Government failed to properly do its duty and ensure these procedures are done in time, central government stepped in to ensure that 40 lakh residents get ownership rights as soon as possible. In fact, the Delhi government had sought time till 2021 for it; however, the Centre decided to move ahead keeping in mind the interests of people.

Firstly, the boundaries of the unauthorized colonies need to be delineated. The Union government fast-tracked this, and already 1550 colonies have been mapped, of which 1060 maps have been uploaded for comments from the concerned resident’s welfare associations. The government also launched a dedicated portal where residents of unauthorized colonies can register their details and upload the documents for verification. Within a month of the portal being launched, 1,44,528 have already registered.

In three months, the marking of the boundaries will be completed, and within 2 years all the 40 lakh residents in the unauthorised colonies will have got their ownership titles. Compare this with Delhi government which had sought time till 2021 for completing even the first process of mapping the colonies!

In fact Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has handed over property documents and ownership rights to 20 residents already.

Has the Kejriwal Govt been Misleading the People on this Issue?

After coming to power AAP promised to open registry of property in unauthorised colonies; however it eventually did so only after Modi govt decided to regularize the unauthorized colonies.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal Claimed that the Centre has approved the issue based on the Delhi government’s proposal sent in November, 2015 but both Union Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan refute that. Minister Harsh Vardhan in fact stated that the Delhi Government did not even respond to 2 notes sent by Union Government in 2016.

During the 2019 General Elections, Mr Kejriwal also falsely claimed that Modi government plans to demolish Delhi’s unauthorised colonies and hand them over to big builders. It is now for Mr Kejriwal to answer to the people of Delhi on these claims and on his own record.