Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana likely to miss its target group

" The Central government's ambitious project the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) may miss its target group and will open the window for middle class to corner government subsidies," apprehended  Amitabh Kundu, former professor from Jawahar Lal Nehru University  while delivering  the keynote address in a workshop titled “Urban Housing Policy for Urban Poor”  held  here at Hotel Maurya on Monday.

"The four verticals under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, those wherein there is great possibility of mis-targeting have made marginal progress" said Kundu. "While those initiatives where the benefits can directly go to the slum dwellers have not taken off. Instead of opening the window for middle class to take benefits, the government should focus on in-situ development. It is necessary that land titles be given with legislative and administrative intervention" he suggested further.

The workshop  was jointly organised  by University of Florida, Asian Development Research Institute, and Institute for Human Development, with support from International Growth Centre. The Inaugural Session was  chaired by  Shaibal Gupta, Member-Secretary Asian Development Research Institute.
 Abhinav Alakshendra, a young scholar and faculty   of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning University of Florida highlighted the housing problems of poor in Patna. 

Chaitanya Prasad, Principal secretary Department of Urban Development and Housing, Government of Bihar conceded that progress has been tardy in respect to providing housing to the urban poor. He said, "there is a need to understand the constraints faced by the slum dwellers in accessing benefits in slums while   appreciating the study undertaken by  Alakshendra. He was very optimistic about 2017 policy, that they will be able to achieve targets.  

The Mayor of Patna, Ms. Sita Sahu,  argued that there is mistargeting and the benefits should not be taken away by the better off.

 Alakshendra presented the findings of the study. He highlighted the need for planned urban development in Bihar keeping in mind its potential to urbanize.

The Thematic Presentation session was chaired by Professor N.K. Chaudhry, former Principal, Patna College, Patna.   Arbind Singh of NASVI, highlighted the need to link housing and livelihood.  Sister Dorthy Fernandes of Ashray Abhiyan highlighted the lack of accountability in the government. Slum Dwellers are unheard, and unseen contributors of the city. Free housing for the poor is not desired.    
 P.P Ghosh, Director, ADRI,  pointed that there is need for targeted housing subsidy. Beneficiaries should be identified using Aadhar.  It must be kept in mind that government need not have enough resources.
 The session was concluded with an engaging question and answer session where many different aspects of urban housing were discussed. Many new initiatives such as Swatcch Bharat Abhiyan, PM Awas Yojna, and Jan Dhan Yojna were also discussed in detail.  



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