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Postcards from India’s Villages: What Awas Yojana Means for the Rural Poor

Awas Yojana

Tamrai Murthi from Tamil Nadu spent many years in a mud-built kaccha house with her little daughter. To meet the basic needs of the family her husband has to go to different places as migrant laborer. What kind of hope and security could Tamrai give to her school-going daughter in this muddy house?

But then, in came Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, which has changed her life. Now, Tamrai’s home looks like this.

It is Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana that made this possible. The home with all the amenities has given a new confidence to them and with the need of a home being fulfilled. Tamrai’s husband is coming back to stay with them as he can manage the other needs through finding some work in the same village.

These two photos reflecting the before Awas and after Awas status in Tamrai’s life speak volumes about the change a pucca house can bring to a woman’s life and consequently, her family.

Bujlal is a resident of Chhattisgarh’s Badagaon. Blindness was a hindrance in his life, others thought. However, he summoned his fortitude and learnt the skill of performing a musical instrument through his nose. The money generated by performing this art has to support his livelihood. Other three members of his family, including his widowed sister-in laws and nephews, stay with him.

How could Bujlal manage his life with all these responsibilities? There is another boon in his life that made it easy. He got a home for him back in 2016-17 under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. The home with LPG cylinder, electricity and toilet has brought a major relief in his life. He met PM Narendra Modi in October 2017 to convey his happiness.

In terms of numbers the Modi government has completed building over 1.54 crore rural homes in just five years. In the second phase of PMAY-Gramin, from 2019-22, 1.95 crore houses are proposed to be provided.

These numbers are indeed impressive, but you need to see the picture of before and after effects of Awas Yojana to really understand the impact this scheme has brought in the lives of rural poor. To borrow a famous line, every house has a story to tell and every house of a poor person under the Awas Yojana has a moving tale.

The residents of Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua are all smiles. Their homes no longer get washed away in the rain, a dismal affair that used to repeat in each season especially in Kerrian-Gandyal block. A report from ANI shows us how the residents are thanking Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana for this transformation. These images of where elderly lady Noor Jaani lived before the Awas Yojana and currently lives in show the world of difference it has made.

Before

After

The story is not restricted to Jammu and Kashmir. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari the scheme has changed the lives of poor and the impact can be seen just looking at the comparative pictures of their kaccha house before Awas scheme and the pucca house they got after the Awas Yojana.

Let’s visit the house of Fadratulla SK in West Bengal’s Musrhidabad. How the Awas Yojana impacted the life of the 62-year-old widow can be gauged by the ‘before and after’ images obtained from the PMAYG website.

Before

After

Churaman Kachhi from Madya Pradesh’s Deonagar is also a widow of 72-year-old and the impact on her life is similar.

Before

After

Meet Pashu Shabbir Sheikh from Maharashtra. He was very concerned about his mother who used to cook in the smoke in a muddy house. There were days when water entered into kaccha house putting the whole family in distress. In those difficult days Shabbir’s mother used to say, “Have patience, keep praying to Allah. Sooner or later the prayer will be answered.” The Modi government did answer their plea and the family of Pashu Shabbir Sheikh got a home under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. The ordeal of smoky kitchen and muddy floors have changed for the better. Shabbir sums it up briefly, “Now we are assured that there is someone to solve our problems.”

Before

After

The story of Arun Monoi Govla of Assam, a widow, may give you a glimpse of how Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana ushering in a socio-economic change. It is one thing that Govla who spent all her life in a kaccha house got a proper house. You see another side of the impact when another villager introduced himself as son-in-law of Govla and said he himself constructed the house as he is a Raja mestri – chief mason. Thus, providing homes for the needy and opening an employment opportunity to a rural skilled laborer is happening side by side.

Before

After

Thus, the houses under Awas Yojana have not just provided a physical structure but an orbit-shift in the lives of rural poor.

Now, life is more secure, dreams have turned to aspirations which are being pursued, in the security of a home of their own.

Moreover, these homes are also provided with amenities such as a cooking gas connection, toilets, working electricity and water connections, drastically raising the quality of life of people who used to live in kaccha houses earlier. The avenues for corruption are also curbed with the money meant for building a home transferred through DBT directly into beneficiary accounts.

These images are an example of accountability that is driven by geo-tagging to ensure the progress of work is tracked.

To reiterate, these are just a few stories. 1.54 crore such families have seen their lives change and the phase 2 of PMAY-G is targeting 1.92 crore homes with the aim of providing a roof over every head by 2022!

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