Centrally sponsored housing scheme for rural poor, Indira Aawas Yojana (IAY) has been bungled by the authorities in the Jammu and Kashmir government.
The scheme funds have been misused and in most cases bungled. State government has violated the norms and given undue benefits to people who were ineligible for being accommodated under this centrally sponsored scheme. Crores of rupees have been disbursed among beneficiaries across Jammu and Kashmir. A huge number of beneficiaries of IAY are from urban areas.
The legislators have forced the authorities to distribute IAY funds in the urban centers of Jammu and Srinagar. The scam is worth Rs. 40 crore and if the agencies are to be believed, the scam is much more than what it appears on the papers. Norms require that IAY beneficiaries should be shelterless BPL households except families and widows of the personnel from defence services, paramilitary forces killed in action living in the rural areas of the country. A detailed report of the central government, a copy of which is with Newspoint Bureau says that 6423 beneficiaries have been illegally accommodated under IAY by the state government and a huge amount of Rs. 1779.55 lakh has been disbursed to these beneficiaries illegally. Of these a small amount of Rs. 3.58 lakh had been passed on to the 12 beneficiaries living in the urban areas but shown as residents of rural areas.
Rs. 338.10 lakh had been distributed among 1154 beneficiaries who already have Pucca or semi-Pucca houses in rural areas. Besides, Rs. 1799.55 lakh has been distributed among non-BPL beneficiaries which is blatant violation of IAY norms. Another component of IAY is that of providing assistance to beneficiaries for upgradation of Kutcha Houses with a ceiling of Rs.15, 000 but state government, according to CAG, provided assistance for upgradation much above this ceiling.
3764 beneficiaries having kutcha house were provided financial assistance of Rs. 6.96 crore in complete violation of the norms and by bypassing conditions set for identification and nomination of the beneficiary. Test check of a few cases revealed that 20 beneficiaries had been provided financial assistance twice resulting in excess payment of Rs. 5.60 lakh. It has desisted from calculating exact number of such beneficiaries and actual amount involved since quantity taken as sample was too small.
Indira Aawas Yojana (IAY) was implemented without proper assessment of housing shortage and there was complete lack of transparency in the allotment of houses to rural poor. Under IAY guidelines, construction of houses should not take more than two years but 1035 houses were incomplete beyond two years and this again involved an amount of Rs. 1.94 crore. It has noted with concern the wasteful expenditure of Rs. 3.87 crore released as first installment to the beneficiaries.
It has termed this as wasteful expenditure since the second installment was never released to the beneficiary and there was also no record available to suggest that the money released so had been utilized properly. It could not verify whether the constructions had been completed or not and hence, termed the expenditure as wasteful.
More shocking were variations reported in the expenditure figures of Union Ministry for Rural Development and the state government. Utilisation certificates to the tune of Rs. 700.24 lakh were also pending from March 2010 to March 2012. Besides these major discrepancies, it has stressed that Jammu and Kashmir is the only state where payments have been made to the beneficiaries through cheques in public meetings held by MLAs, MPs, MLCs and Ministers. It has taken serious offence of this also and said that this is intolerable and should have been avoided.