Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech in Maharashtra in October 2018, this year has cited that the previous UPA government had constructed 25 lakh houses in the last four years of its rule whereas the present government has constructed a record 1.25 crore houses in the last four years. Few media websites like Factly and Newslaundry have presented the fact check on these numbers to argue that the Prime Minister’s claim on rural housing is wrong. By citing various Parliament replies, CAG reports, and annual reports these fact-checkers have arrived at different numbers. According to them, rural housing figures in the last four years of UPA stood at 89.65 lakh houses whereas the NDA government constructed 111.44 lakh houses in their first four years between 2014-15 and 2017-18.
The erstwhile Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) meant for rural housing had a huge issue of unfinished houses. As one of the documents cited by the above fact-checkers itself admits that as on April 2016, more than 36 lakh (36,39,368) houses remained incomplete under Indira Awaas Yojana as reported by Awass soft. However, under the Modi government, each house can be tracked down to the village level since geo-tagging has been done for each one of them. Since 2015-16, IT-DBT payments have also been made mandatory to ensure full transparency and accountability. When the number of rural houses constructed is computed in a transparent way, the figures of UPA government and the present NDA government stand as the below table, which exactly substantiates Prime Minister’s assertion on rural housing.
Incomplete IAY Houses - The Missing Picture
When the pmayg.nic.in transaction-based MIS was launched, it was made mandatory for the States to upload year-wise house completion status from 2010-11 based on the Order Sheets and Payment Orders issued with details of year-wise completion. Houses completed in 2010-11 could be shown as completed in 2010-11. In case of incomplete houses as of April 2014, the houses need to be completed and the completion year has been taken on the basis of final payment and physical completion, along with the geo-tagging. States were given time till March 2018 to do the complete uploading of houses constructed in the years – 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, etc., based on detailed payment records, physical & financial completion.
UPA’s Poor Record on Rural Housing- How CAG report Corroborates PM’s Claim
The fact that the UPA’s rural housing numbers were, at their best, were only on paper and can be substantiated by the CAG report of that time. This media report dated December 2014, has brought out the truth about rural housing numbers achieved by the UPA government from the period of 2008-13.
In a gist, CAG observed the housing shortage assessed at the beginning of 11th Plan (2007-12) was 4.27 crores, which remained almost the same at the beginning of the 12th plan (2012-17) at 4 crores. This essentially means that UPA-2 has reduced the shortage of houses only to 27 lakhs in its five years period. Considering the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech was referring to the four years of the last UPA government, he was not at all off the mark when he said only 25 lakh houses constructed under UPA-2.
The fact-checkers can read the detailed report of Times of India which quoted CAG saying “…several irregularities in the implementation of the scheme which resulted not only in slow progress in the construction of houses but in several cases the benefits went to the ineligible beneficiaries.”
Geo-tagging of the completed rural houses has been implemented only under PMAY-G that was launched in November 2016, which assures that the numbers cannot lie as possible in the case of previous rural housing schemes.
During erstwhile years, progress in the completion of houses was monitored and kept on record through Monthly Progress Reports (MPRs) submitted by Districts/States. On the contrary, under the revamped rural housing scheme – PMAY-G, and e-monitoring through MIS-AwaasSoft and AwaasApp have been introduced. NDA’s record of the number of rural houses completed (and geo-tagged) in 4.5 years also includes the houses that remained incomplete under IAY. It should be noted that recently it has been reported that the Centre has asked Telangana Government to return Rs 190 crore which was given under the PMAY-G since it has not built any house under the scheme. Such is the transparency under the new system. Thus, all the evidence suggests that the numbers Prime Minister claimed on rural housing are real numbers and not just off the mark as some fact-checking websites are claiming.