After Rafale scam, Modi government has lot to answer on data manipulation on Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana


We all know how the Centre’s Narendra Modi government led by the BJP never miss an opportunity in creating unending hypes on the so-called vikas or development under the current prime minister. One such huge hype is in flaunting the numbers claimed by the government on Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).

As has been the case with this government’s penchant for fudging the data, here too the government has been found promoting a misleading advertisement with claims of completing the construction of 10 million houses under PMAY.  But, the breaking news is that this is nowhere closer to the truth. 

There is nothing new about government sponsoring housing schemes in India. The first government sponsored housing scheme came into being was immediately after the independence to provide housing for the refugees who came to India after partition. Till 1960 around 500,000 houses were provided by the government in different part of northern India under that scheme. In 1957, another scheme – Village Housing Scheme (VHP) was launched as part of Community Development Movement (CDM) to provide loans up to ₹5,000 per unit to individuals and cooperatives.

But this scheme was not successful because only 67,000 dwelling units could be constructed under VHP till the end of fifth five year plan in 1979. Another similar scheme was started in 4th five year plan – House Sites-cum-Construction Assistance Scheme (HSCAS) transferred to the States from 1974-75.

Then came Indira Awas Yojana in 1985 as it went on to become the biggest and most comprehensive housing programme in India. It has its origin in National Rural Employment Programme (NREP) and Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme (RLEGP) started in 1980 and 1983 respectively. To start with, it was a sub programme of RLEGP. In 1989, IAY was subsumed by Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY). It was declared an independent Scheme in 1996 and it remained as one till the name changed to Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in 2016.

Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) progress report of PMAY throws some interesting numbers on the year wise number of houses constructed. The first shock comes when one see only 246,388 houses completed under the scheme “prior to 2012-2013”. And it says 144,442 houses completed in 2013-14, 125,977 in 2013-15, 223,702 in  2015-16, 2,707,103 in  2016-17, 1,543,195 in  2017-18, and 4,990,807** for 2017-2019 till 27 July 2018.

Anyone who looks at this data will be under the impression that these are the number of houses constructed every year and total 95,90,784 houses have been completed since Modi govt came in to power. Wrong! But, don’t blame yourself for being tricked. Because tricking an average voter appears to have been the real design behind creating this misleading data.

Truth be told, these are not the number of houses constructed! According to a report by Ministry of Rural Development, building 99,89,825 houses were its total target. 99,22,838 was the target fixed by states. 1,05,23,278 people got registered themselves for the houses. 43,27, 290 houses were completed till 27 July 2018 from 26 May 2014, when the Modi govt came in to power. In real term, this means that 10,38,550 houses were completed every year since May 2014. Since, by prime minister’s own admission, his government’s target was to build 1 crore houses by the end of December 2019, he’s effectively been able to achieve only 43.3% of his target. They will still need to construct 56.70 lakh houses more between now and April next year.

If the government has been able to achieve 43.3% target in more than four years, what are the chances of it achieving the remaining 56.7% in just eight months? They have the liberty to brush it aside calling it yet another jumla (fake promise).

But, this is not the only Jumla. Let us check the numbers prior to 2014-15. This govt press release gives out the total number of constructed house under the IAY till 2009 March. Till then, It says 2.87 crore houses were constructed under the IAY since the inception of the scheme in June 1985. That is nearly 12 lakh houses per year; that is 1.5 lakh houses more than Modi government’s annual average since 2014. This number will also help most of you to see the Modi government’s claims that only 246,388 houses were completed prior to 2012-13 in new perspective.

UPA years vs Modi’s term

Out of the total 2,86,88,000 houses constructed till 2009 March under IAY, 82,97,305 houses were constructed under UPA 1. UPA 2 added another 99,60,000 houses in the next four years – till 31 March 2013. It is a bit tough to authenticate the numbers of 2013-14 in the absence of numbers presented by the UPA because most of the documents pertaining to IAY are either hidden or have been deleted including the annual report of Ministry of Rural Development. But, the MoRD’s annual report of 2012-13 says that from 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013, 13,88,000 houses were completed under IAY and 34,47,000 houses were under construction.

So, let’s take a very conservative one third of 34,47,000 as the completed number of 2013-14. It adds another 11,49,000 houses to the four year cumulative number of 99,60,000. That means, 1,11,09,000 houses were constructed under Indira Awas Yojana by UPA 2 in their 5 year tenure. It takes the total number of houses constructed under IAY in UPA 1 & 2 tenure is 1,94,06,305. That is an average of 19,40,630 houses per year. But, what MoRD is displaying on its website is only 2,46,388 houses constructed prior to 2012-13.

Modi is notorious since his days as Gujarat Chief Minister for manipulating the data to create a hype on his administration and government and show the opponents in negative light. But, the manipulation here by him is extraordinary even by his own standards. Nearly 4 crore houses were built till 31 March 2014, but 41 lakh houses have been completed since Modi became the PM. But for Modi fans, what the PM says usually serves as the gospel truth. Facts usually tend to become intended casualties for them.

Note: All used data, numbers and other relevant informations are collected from MoRD Annual Reports, CAG reports on IAY, PIB releases and planning commission reports.

(Ravi Nair can be contacted on Twitter via @t_d_h_nair)