Parliamentary panel pulls up Housing Ministry, on failure to utilise funds
The standing committee on urban development, in its report on demand for grants for 2018-19 tabled in the parliament on March 9, 2018, said it was concerned to find that the actual utilisation of funds by the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, was only 21.6 per cent or Rs 7,850.72 crore out of Rs 36,194.39 crores, released since the launch of six flagship programmes. It was apprehensive that, at this pace, the realisation of almost all the six flagships programmes would remain a ‘distant dream’.
The programmes are the Smart Cities Mission, Swachh Bharat Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY), National Urban Livelihood Mission and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).
The committee noted that although a huge share has been allocated to the AMRUT scheme, meant to provide for water supply, sewerage and drainage facilities to selected 500 cities, the actual utilisation was only Rs 2,480.43 crores, which was only 28.74 per cent. In case of the Smart Cities Mission, the utilisation was the lowest at 1.83 per cent or Rs 182.62 crores out of the released Rs 9,943.22 crores, the panel said. Under the Swachh Bharat Mission, funds utilised were to the tune of Rs 2,223.22 crores or 38.01 per cent, against Rs 5,847.92 crores released under the scheme, the panel said. In case of PMAY, the states have spent Rs 2,080.52 crores, which was only 20.78 per cent of the funds released, it added.
“The committee is extremely unhappy about the actual scenario with respect to the flagship programmes of the government and the trend of central funds not being utilised,” the report said. The committee, hence, recommend that the government should get its act together and identify problematic areas, leading to this slack implementation and address them on a war footing, including the brittle financial health of most of the municipal bodies in undertaking the centre’s flagship schemes.