Role of NGOs in implementation of BLC is inevitable
Though beneficiary is assisted by Third Party Quality Monitoring Agencies (TPQMA), State Government and Government of India; there are gaps which restrict or delay implementation of BLC—which can be filled by NGOs like ours: Mahila Housing Trust, which has an experience of over 25 years in understanding the grassroots communities’ perspective and also has been working with local, state and central government towards responsible urban development
Under the Beneficiary-Led Individual House Construction or Enhancement (BLC) component of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) U mission, individual eligible families belonging to EWS categories can either construct new houses or enhance existing houses on their own to cover the beneficiaries, who are not able to take benefits of other components of the mission.
The Urban Local Bodies(ULB) validate the information given by the beneficiary and building plan for the house submitted by beneficiary so that ownership of land and other details of beneficiary like economic status and eligibility can be ascertained. While approving project for individual house construction, Urban Local Bodies and States/ UTs ensure that required finance for constructing the planned house is available to the beneficiary from different sources including his own contribution, GoI assistance, State Government assistance etc. in form of subsidy. The funds from Central Government to State Governments are released in lump-sum including assistance for this component, State Government releases financial assistance to the beneficiaries in 3-4 instalments depending on progress of construction of the house. Beneficiary can start the construction using his own funds or any other fund and GoI assistance gets released in proportion to the construction by individual beneficiary.
The Mission has also issued Geo-tagging Operational Guidelines. The progress of such individual houses are tracked through geo-tagging norms so that each house can be monitored effectively. States develop a system for tracking progress of such houses through geo-tagging norms. The States/UTs engage Third Party Quality Monitoring Agencies (TPQMA) to ensure quality of construction under various components of the Mission. On the basis of quality assurance report by such agencies and also reports of their own technical staff, States and ULBs takes both preventive and curative measures to ensure standard quality houses and infrastructure are constructed under the mission.
(More information, here)
However, there are obstacles which restrict or delay the beneficiaries to avail financial support as committed. In Ranchi, MHT supported by Oak Foundation is working towards better implementation of BLC for 1190 households. Out of these 1190 households targeted to be supported, 323 houses are already constructed and process for better implementation for other 604 households is in process.
While MHT generates awareness on PMAY’s various components, demystifies it for the slum communities, connects the beneficiaries to the Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) officials, conducts exposure visits to other beneficiaries’ construction/enhancement site and at RMC; functions as a link between the beneficiary and Ranchi PMAY officials along with the third party implementation agency. All these interventions ensure that maximum number of eligible households can benefit from these schemes.
Below are a few incidents where MHT accelerated the implementation process in Ranchi:
-In January 2020 it was found by MHT’s CAG women leaders that a beneficiary- Dashrath Mahto residing at Kumar Toli was listed as beneficiary under BLC scheme since 2017 but he was not aware of this. The CAG woman assured at RMC if his name was still listed after a gap of four years, when that resulted positively, sensitised him that if the name is removed- to get himself listed as beneficiary again would be even more tedious. He was suggested to sort out his dispute within the family and begin the construction. As on Auguts 2021, the RCC coloumn, assuring completion of foundation level of his pucca house is erected and his other construction is in process.
-In August 2021, five unique cases were identified by MHT Community Action Group’s (CAG) women-leaders. Four beneficiaries: Dashrath Mahto, Sahilal Mahto, Pankaj Mahto, Charan Mahto, of Namkum Toli slum didn’t receive the first financial instalment after the foundation-level construction and other beneficiary- Sarju Mahto, did not receive the third instalment – reasons for all these cases remained unknown for quite some time. When MHT tried to understand the cause of the problem, beneficiaries hinted on the will of the third party agency; without reaching to any conclusion and discover the actual problem, the CAG women approached the RMC with an intent that the beneficiaries be supported as per the norms. The women leaders visited the RMC office, made the beneficiaries visit RMC as well for better exposure and understanding. Later it was identified by Gurudayal Singh, Project Engineering Specialist PMAY cell (PMAY-BLC) that bank mergers during pandemic resulted in display of two different IFSC codes, because of which the instalment was restricted by the authorities. In the above case, the RMC officials were dutiful, so were the third party agency staff and support from GOI also reached the state; however, had MHT not dig into root-cause the receiving of instalment and further construction might have stopped or delayed. Their passbooks were submitted to RMC to give the currently valid IFSC code and within a couple of month’s time, the amount will be transferred to all these five beneficiaries.
– Later, Dashrath Mahto didn’t receive any financial instalment as entitled to, even after construction of foundation-level of his home was completed and the geo-tagging process was also done by the third party agency, hired by RMC. The IFSC codes issue was also solved. When the CAG women leaders looked deep into the matter and realised it was a case of duplicate names at the RMC office which mixed up bank details of two individuals with same names. They assured that identity proofs of both individuals were separately submitted to the RMC and it was rectified in RMC’s Management Information Systems (MIS). His first instalment is released, this way.
These are a few of the many ways in which MHT fills the gap. It is a support organisation and not a substitute agency. Standard operating procedures (SoPs) are designed for flagship program with intention to standardize the procedure and third party agencies are hired to do required due diligence as per standard operating procedures. However, when project is implemented on ground issues that were not anticipated in planning stage and for which there was no provision in the standard operating procedures emerge and in most of cases it remains unaddressed till such issues are properly presented to respective authorities with possible solutions. That’s exactly what MHT has been doing for supporting smooth implementation of PMAY. Other NGOs and Community Based Organisation (CBOs) can do the same to support flagship program like PMAY. It will be even better if role of NGOs can formally be incorporated in the guidelines developed for implementation of such program thus making them formal stakeholder.