As the BJP-led central government is working overtime to fulfil Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s poll promise of “Housing for All”, there are 1.64 lakh government-constructed houses lying vacant across India. AAP- ruled Delhi tops the list of states in the country with most number of low-cost houses lying vacant.
The top five states with vacant houses – Delhi with 36,623 houses, Maharashtra 35,517, Telangana 18,086, Uttar Pradesh 11,916 and Andhra Pradesh 10,863 – account for 70% of the total low-cost vacant houses across India. The vacant low-cost houses are the previous Congress-led UPA government’s legacy which the Modi government is struggling with. These were constructed under different urban housing schemes sanctioned under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY). After the Modi government launched the Housing For All Mission in June 2015, all the housing schemes were subsumed by Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) and the government set itself an ambitious target of building two crore low-cost houses under four components.
According to statistics provided by the housing and urban affairs ministry, there were 2.5 lakh vacant houses when the Modi government assumed power in May 2014. These low-cost houses were vacant because in many cases they were planned in locations far away from residential colonies or business centres, which are means of livelihood for people. Many projects were incomplete when the UPA government exited office.