The Comptroller and Auditor General of India, in its recently tabled report on the performance audit of housing schemes for urban poor, said affordable housing scheme implementation in Karnataka is fraught with faults.
One of the serious errors committed by the state government is providing housing sites to multiple members of the same family of beneficiaries.
As per Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana guidelines, a beneficiary family consists of a husband, wife, unmarried son, and/or unmarried daughters. An adult earning member (irrespective of marital status) could be treated as a separate household if he/she does not own a pucca house in his or her name in any part of India.
Further, in the case of selecting more than one adult earning member per household as beneficiary, eligibility criteria needed to be assessed independently, irrespective of the eligibility of the head of the family.
However, the CAG audit found that in 1,457 households, more than one member of the same family had availed the benefit. In these cases, benefits were provided to other members based on eligibility of the head of the household. The total loss to the exchequer due to this gaffe alone was placed at Rs 12.7 crore.
While the government responded to the CAG, citing that they considered multiple members of the same family in 1,457 cases as separate entities who did not own a pucca house anywhere else in the country, the CAG pointed to non-assessment of economic eligibility criteria of additional members independently.
The CAG said despite PMAY norms mandating that housing provided under the scheme must be registered in the name of the female head of the family, or jointly in the name of both husband and wife, in 36% of the housing provided, the male heads were registered as owners.
The state, as on March 2021, had started construction of 5.1 lakh dwelling units, for which registrations were completed. In September 2021, the government said under state sector schemes which were dovetailed with PMAY, houses were allotted in the name of the male head of the family. But the CAG noted: “Reply was not acceptable as state schemes which were dovetailed with PMAY and received central aid, had to follow PMAY norms.”