Economic Survey 2021’s Housing Index states that the improvement in access to housing has been disproportionately greater for the lowest income group when compared to the highest income group, thereby enhancing equity in access to housing, one of the ‘bare necessities’ such as water, sanitation, electricity and clean cooking fuel.
To measure the progress in the delivery of “the bare necessities”, the Survey develops a composite index called the Bare Necessities Index (BNI).
The BNI measures access to “the bare necessities” for households in rural areas, urban areas and at the all India level. These necessities are measured using 26 comparable indicators on five dimensions viz., water, sanitation, housing, micro-environment, and other facilities. The indicators used to capture the availability and quality of housing, access to a bathroom, kitchen, toilet, drinking water, waste discharge facilities, clean cooking fuel and disease-free environment.
Compared to 2012, access to “the bare necessities” has improved across all States in the country in 2018. Access to bare necessities is the highest in the states such as Kerala, Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat while it is the lowest in Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Tripura, says the Economic Survey.
“InterState disparities in the access to “the bare necessities” have declined in 2018 when compared to 2012 across rural and urban areas. This is because the States where the level of access to “the bare necessities” was low in 2012 have gained relatively more between 2012 and 2018. Access to “the bare necessities” has improved disproportionately more for the poorest households when compared to the richest households across rural and urban areas,” the Economic Survey noted.
The improvement in equity is particularly noteworthy because while the rich can seek private alternatives, lobby for better services, or if need be, move to areas where public goods are better provided for, the poor rarely have such choices, it notes.
Schemes such as Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP), Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (PMAY), Saubhagya, and Ujjwala Yojana have been designed to deliver these necessities.
“These Schemes were equipped with new features such as the use of technology, real-time monitoring, geo-tagging of assets, social audit, embedded digital flow of information, and direct benefit transfers wherever possible,” it says.
PMAY intends to provide housing for all in urban and rural areas by 2022.
Under PMAY (Urban), as on January 18, 2021, 109.2 lakh houses have been sanctioned out of which 70.4 lakh houses have been grounded for construction of which 41.3 lakh have been built to the beneficiaries under PMAY(U) since the inception of the scheme in June 2015.
The target number of houses for construction under PMAY (Gramin) is 2.95 crore in two phases i.e. 1.00 crore in Phase I (2016-17 to 2018-19) and 1.95 crore in Phase II (2019-20 to 2021-22). Since 2014-15, construction of approximately 1.94 crore rural houses have been completed, out of which 1.22 crore houses have been constructed under the revamped scheme of PMAY-G and 0.72 crore under erstwhile Indira Awaas Yojana scheme, the Economic Survey says.
“The results of the Housing Index in the ESR are heartening because they show that access to housing, especially quality housing is improving and becoming more universal. Especially remarkable is that the improvements have taken place more for those in the economically weaker sections than for those households that are economically better off. Also, these improvements across noticeable across all states. This shows that the Modi Government’s initiative of ‘housing for all’ is reaping results. However, more work is needed to bridge the gap between rural and urban areas," said Siddhart Goel, Senior Director, Research at Colliers International.