Great Stride towards Achieving the Goal of Housing for All

Port Blair, Jan 11: In a significant step towards realising the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s dream of ‘Housing for All by 2022’, the Department of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Andaman & Nicobar Administration has been relentlessly implementing the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojnana-Gramin across the Islands. The flagship scheme by the Government of India aims at providing a pucca house with basic amenities inclusive of a hygienic cooking space to the houseless and those living in kutcha houses.

Under PMAY-G, beneficiaries are provided unit assistance of Rs. 1.2 lakh along with 90 person days of unskilled labour wage through convergence with Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). Additionally, an incentive of Rs.12,000 for construction of toilets through convergence with Swachh Bharat Mission – Gramin (SBM-G) is also provided to the beneficiaries. Besides that the beneficiaries are also provided with safe dirking water through National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP); electricity connection under Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDU-GJY) and LPG connection under Prdhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY). The beneficiaries have been identified by the Gram Sabha from among those who fulfill the deprivation parameters in the Socio-Economic Caste Census 2011 through a consultative process.

In the UT of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, the Department of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj aims at providing a pucca house to 1337 eligible beneficiaries under the scheme that can withstand adverse weather conditions and ensure quality of life. To ensure housing facility to the poor and landless beneficiaries of PMAY-G, the Hon’ble Lt. Governor, A&N Administration has allotted land to the tune of 50 m sq to each of the landless beneficiary and more than 700 landless beneficiaries have availed its benefits thus far. This was preceded by timely identification, demarcation and plotting in all the 9 blocks that was actively undertaken by the Administration. The scheme is being implemented to promote a synergetic partnership between the people and the Government. Furthermore, the construction activity under the scheme has had a huge impact on the other sectors of the economy with a multiplier effect in employment generation.

Overcoming various challenges in the way of construction of PMAY-G houses, let it be outbreak of COVID-19, bad weather conditions, lack of construction materials, etc, with the dedicated efforts of the Block staff the Rural Development Department has managed to complete 1000 houses under the scheme. 100% target has already been achieved in Little Andaman and execution in other blocks is well underway to ensure completion of the targeted houses by March, 2022.

In many places, the beneficiaries are already residing in the houses constructed under this scheme. The beneficiaries describe how they have benefited immensely not just from the monetary support under the scheme but also from the handholding that they received during all stages of construction from the Department. They have expressed their heart-felt gratitude to the Administration for helping them realise their dream of owning a pucca house. The neatly built house arrangement equipped with amenities like water, gas, toilet and electricity supply is an archetype of a new and aspirational Union Territory.

The Secretary (RD), Shri Suneel Anchipaka, IAS, is of the firm belief that the housing scheme will play a critical role in fostering the health and well-being of people in the rural areas while ensuring safe and secure habitats for women and children. Further the department has undertaken a drive to expedite the process of construction of houses in a well-planned manner under his direct supervision. With his sincere efforts and regular monitoring, the target of construction of 1000 houses has been achieved and the construction of remaining houses is in good pace.

Setting off a virtuous cycle of economic activity and hygienic dwelling for the underserved in the rural areas, the PMAY-G certainly is a panacea for a bulk of problems in the rural areas of our Union Territory.