India is a country with a large portion of population living in appalling conditions which are detrimental to a health of a growing and developing nation. Only about 50 % of Indians own their own houses. For the rest of the population owning an own home is fast becoming just that a Dream.

Every government since 1947 has had to face this challenge to provide the basic necessity of housing to the homeless of India.  The government took up the challenge and came out with a couple of schemes to provide basic housing to the homeless of India. The Indira Awas Yojna was launched in 1985 by Rajiv Gandhi. It concentrated on providing assistance to the BPL citizens of India for construction of affordable homes in rural areas using locally sourced materials of construction to build their own homes.

In 2015 the name of the scheme was changed from the Indira Awas Yojna to Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna and the circle of people who were to benefit under this scheme was widened. The scheme now offered fully constructed units at fixed affordable prices but with a financial subsidy was offered to support the citizens who were not having any homes in their own names. Although the provisions of both the schemes were the same still there were some minor changes made in the provisions of the scheme.  Both the schemes had two components. The PMAY for the urban poor and PMAY for the rural poor.  For the purpose of the scheme some areas in the outskirts of the major urban cities were identified for the construction of such affordable units. 

The PMAY has fixed the price of these flats at 4500 rupees per square ft.  The minimum dwelling space for the 1 BHK flats has been kept at 360 sq. Ft which still means that a house of the smallest size can cost around 14 lacs. Although this cost is still too high for people living below the poverty line to afford still there are many households which are in the lower income group but not precisely under the Poverty line who do benefit under this scheme to purchase their own homes.

The list of people who are supposed to benefit from this scheme is to include the following categories of citizens:

  • Handicapped and disabled citizens.
  • Ex service men from the armed forces
  • People belonging to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes
  • Freed bonded labourers
  • Widows with no earning hands in the family
  • Marginalised section of society 
  •  Parliamentary personnel killed in action 

In a country where at least 30% of the rural population lives below the poverty line there is still a lot to be undertaken in this field if we are to provide the people in India with their own homes.