The NDA government has approved 17.73 lakh affordable houses for 2,008 cities and towns in the last two years as against 13.82 lakh sanctioned for 1,061 cities during 10 years of UPA rule, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said today. Naidu said the Centre has done whatever it could and now it was for the state governments to take forward its Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) scheme to provide housing to all the poor people in urban areas by 2022. Noting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's is a "government with a difference", the Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister said the Centre has announced various concessions and tax benefits for the affordable housing scheme. Besides, the Centre has relaxed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for affordable housing and also accorded infrastructure status to it, he said, and recalled that the Real Esate bill was also passed by Parliament last year. "What else (can be done by the Centre)... You require the political will and the administration skills... Government of India has done whatever it could do. Now the ball is in the court of the the state governments," he told reporters here. As the government inches closer to completing three years and two years of PMAY (Urban) scheme, Naidu said 17.73 lakh affordable houses have been approved for 2,008 cities and towns in the last less than two years as against 13.82 lakh sanctioned for 1,061 cities in the earlier 10 years. He said an investment of Rs 96,266 crore has been approved so far for construction of houses for urban poor as against Rs 32,713 crore during 2004-14. Central assistance of Rs 27,883 crore has already been approved for release to states and UTs under PMAY (Urban) as against Rs 20,920 crore during the ten years of the previous government, Naidu said. Elaborating on the strategy to meet the 'Housing for All' target by 2022, Naidu said 15 states and UTs are being targeted to meet their respective goals by 2019. These are Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, Andaman & Nicobar Islands,Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Puducherry. He said other large states have been asked to submit housing proposals by end 2018 so that construction of houses could be completed by 2022. The Minister said within 22 months of launch of PMAY (Urban), 97,489 houses have been constructed for urban poor. Tamil Nadu tops the list of states for which the Centre has approved construction of affordable houses with nod for 2.27 lakh houses, Madhya Pradesh (2.09 lakh), Andhra Pradesh (1.95 lakh) and Karnataka (1.46 lakh). Gujarat got approval for 1.44 lakh affordable houses, followed by West Bengal (1.44 lakh), Maharashtra (1.26 lakh) Bihar (88,293) and Telangana (82,985). Jharkhand, Odisha and Tripura each got approval for less than 65,000 affordable houses. However, Gujarat was on the top of the list of states which have completed the construction of the affordable houses with 28,070, followed by Karnataka (14,328), Tamil Nadu (8,382), and Maharashtra (6,963). Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Telangana, Jharkhand, Odisha and Tripura constructed less than 6,000 houses. The Minister said the Delhi government has not yet joined the PMAY (Urban) scheme, adding, as though it has "no poor people". "Instead of spending on ads (advertisements), the Delhi government should add money to the Centre's housing scheme to provide affordable houses to the poor," he said, responding to a query related to Kejriwal government's reported claim that the Centre was not providing enough money for the scheme. To another query, Naidu said it would be wrong to compare the performance of the states on the basis of which party is ruling it. He said whichever state does not come forward with the implementation of the scheme will face the wrath of the people. To a query on China "standardising" the official names for six places in Arunachal Pradesh, the Cabinet minister said, "Arunachal Pradesh is totally part and parcel of India. China has no business to name any of the district.
I don't know why they have taken this step." On the political storm in Tamil Nadu, the Union Minister said the AIADMK factions should work together for the welfare of the people of the state. "They should stay united and work for welfare of the state. That is the wish of all of us. We don't interfere and don't give directions. We don't side with this group or that group as far as Tamil Nadu Politics is concerned," he said. Naidu said there was also no question of tie-up with either group as no election was slated for the state as of now.