To stem rural disquiet caused by falling crop prices, the central government has turned to the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G). Over 51 lakh permanent houses are slated to be built in 2017-18 and the government hopes to equal the number of rural houses in the coming fiscal.
Of the 51 lakh houses slated for construction under the scheme in 2017-18, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan eight lakh, 4.5 lakh and four lakh account for more than 30 per cent of the houses to be built. All three states go to polls later this year just before the general elections in 2019. West Bengal accounts for eight lakh houses and Odisha another six lakh houses, both states where the BJP seeks to emerge as the main opposition party.
If achieved, the 54 lakh rural houses to be built under central schemes in 2017-18 will be far higher than the 32.24 lakh in 2016-17, 18.24 lakh in 2015-16, 11.89 lakh in 2014-15, 10.49 lakh in 2013-14 and 10.47 lakh in 2012-13. While the landless have also been hit, with average all-India annual rural wage growth falling from 6.8 to 4.9 per cent between July and October, the decline is sharper for agricultural (from 8.1 to 4.7 per cent) than for non-agricultural occupations (5.7 to 5.1 per cent).