MCD Election: AAP govt's curtailing of funds for housing schemes may cost party dearly in polls

Despite the AAP government’s repeated efforts to appear pro-poor before the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) election, a key document reveals a major curtailing of funds in housing schemes for slum-dwellers, during its two-and-a-half year tenure in Delhi. The official document released by the Urban Development Department of the Delhi government itself shows that a chunk of Rs 469 crore was dropped from the housing scheme for slum-dwellers.

The revelation is seen in contrast to a new announcement of a pro-poor scheme to construct 6,178 flats for slum-dwellers, made by the Delhi government just two months before the MCD election.
Named 'Status Report of Basic Service to Urban Poor under JNNURM', the document shows that five of the 16 housing projects under the flagship programme of Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission, went through this fund curtailment.

File image of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kekriwal. PTI

File image of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. PTI

Fund curtailing in the scheme happened after the Centre scraped the JNNURM in March 2015 leaving many of these schemes incomplete nationwide. As per a CAG report published towards the end of the mission period, out of a total 766 urban infrastructure development projects countrywide, only 126 could be completed on time.

Many states had to seek additional funding from the Centre under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation programme to complete the unfinished projects. The Delhi Economic Survey of 2016-17 also complained about the drying up of funds flowing from the Centre under such schemes as JNNURM. In spite of the fact that funding under the JNNURM had been stopped, the National Capital was least expected to opt for fund curtailing of the projects related to the lives of the slum-dwellers, who are also the ruling party’s core voters, as its tax revenue has increased substantially by 13.61 percent in FY 2015-16, as per the survey.

In fact, Delhi had its fiscal surplus in 2015-16 at Rs 1,321.92 crore as per the report — an amount more than twice that required to complete the projects without fund curtailment. The projects that went through fund curtailment also saw a decrease in the number of targeted flats to be constructed. The total number of flats that were to be delivered by these projects decreased from 28,540 to 19,780 after funds were curtailed.

The pace of project implementation in Delhi has also been poor, as nine of these 16 housing projects, remain incomplete even beyond their respective stipulated period. Of a targeted 55,424 homes to the poor, only 31,424 could be completed putting the success rate at as low as 57 percent, although the stipulated period to complete all the projects came to an end on 31 March. The AAP government’s performance is dismal when it comes to the implementation of the project, as only 288 flats of 31,424 completed ones have been occupied by beneficiaries till now and only one project has been completed in three years.

The AAP-led dispensation has failed to accommodate beneficiaries even in the flats completed before the 2013.

Delhi saw the completion of six projects from the period starting from 2007 and ending in 2013 during the Congress regime, whereas the AAP completed one in two-and-a-half years. Sub-standard housing in the slums of Delhi has been seen as a major health hazard for the city. As per the Delhi Economic Survey, 22 percent of the slums do not have a toilet and only 30 percent of them use septic tanks.

The National Capital that accommodates 695 slums and JJ clusters (Jhuggi Jhopri clusters), 1,797 unauthorised colonies require urgent relocation or standard housing facility so as to meet the challenge thrown by vector-borne diseases from time to time. Only last year, the city saw a major outbreak of Dengue and Chikungunya.

The present AAP-led dispensation's failure to meet this requirement and its curtailing of funds approved for the housing of the slum-dwellers may cost it dearly in the upcoming MCD polls.

Updated Date: Apr 05, 2017 10:43 AM

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