Goreti Kujur, a video journalist for Video Volunteers from Jharkhand, is quite popular in her neighborhood. The villagers, especially women, approach her when they have issues with availing government schemes. In the span of the last two months, Anita and Iravati, who are from two separate panchayats in Gomia, took Goreti to their respective sixty-year-old mud houses that are in dire need of repair. Iravati uses a makeshift bamboo ladder6 to enter certain rooms of her house and the roof leaks when it rains. Anita5 breaks down while sharing her ordeal of having applied multiple times over the last few years to the village head to avail of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana - Gramin (PMAY-G) scheme. The PMAY-G scheme offers a pucca house, with basic amenities.
Goreti Kujur reported their stories to Video Volunteers, and while making her video reports, she also spoke to the responsible officials. The village head and ward member claim that they have, over the last few years, forwarded all requests to the concerned block officials, but the scheme was not sanctioned for all houses. Goreti has spoken to the block development officer about this matter and hopes that the houses will receive the sanction in this financial year. She has worked with several households in her village to grant them access to these sanctions that they are entitled to. However, this has been an uphill task that is dependent on several factors.
While the limited quota sanctioned to every block each year may not cover all the eligible households, deserving families such as Anita’s and Iravati’s, and several others, wait for their turn without much explanation for the delays or complete denial.
The official website1 of PMAY-G states that it aims at providing a pucca house, with basic amenities, to all houseless householders and those households living in kutcha and dilapidated houses, by 2022. The Indian Express reported in December 2021 that the Cabinet has extended this deadline till 2024. According to government reports, 155.75 lakh houses out of the overall target of 2.95 crore houses in rural areas still remain to be constructed.
In Jharkhand, the delays are partly caused by administrative issues. Of all those who applied, 18068 houses have not been approved by the Union government despite requests from the Jharkhand government, due to errors in the entry of the job card details of the beneficiaries, according to the report of a local newspaper3. Although this error has occurred at the district administration’s end, the Union government is not making any provisions for correction of the data.
According to the official website of PMAY-G, of the 98.3% houses sanctioned in Jharkhand, only 69.54% have been completed so far. In a candid conversation with Goreti Kujur, a block official shares their limitations in terms of following up on such cases. The block offices lack the resources required to conduct an on-ground survey for determining the reasons why construction on the rest of the houses has not been completed.
The financial progress report4 of the official website shows that all the funds allocated by the Union government to the state of Jharkhand have not been released for the financial year 2021-22. While 290522.875 lakhs were allotted, only 120790.684 lakhs was released. This is merely 41.6% of the total allotted funds. The Jharkhand government utilized all of the funds that had been made available. Nationally, only 56% of the overall funds allocated to PMAY-G was sanctioned in the last financial year.
In the eyes of Anita and Iravati, PMAY-G remains a distant dream. With administrative errors and insufficient sanctioned funds, the scheme seems to have failed in their eyes. Presently, they see video journalist and community correspondent Goreti Kujur as their last hope.
This episode of ‘Awaaz Ho Buland’ is about the environment and our immediate actions to keep our Earth from further deterioration.