NEW DELHI: A Parliamentary panel has criticised the Ministry of Housing and Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) for showing a trend of "under-utilisation" in its actual expenditure.
It has also asked it to "not make frequent changes" of schemes relating to same objectives as that leads to confusion and lack of focus and direction.
"The committee observes that the actual expenditure of the Ministry of HUPA is showing under-utilisation trend as there is never 100 per cent financial targets achieved by them during each of the last three years," the panel said in its report tabled in both Houses of Parliament today.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Urban Development headed by Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Pinaki Misra also observed a "marked reduction" in the plan allocation to the ministry from 2014-15 to 2016-17.
In 2014-15, the HUPA was allocated Rs 6,000 crore which was reduced by Rs 375 crore to Rs 5,625 crore in 2015-16. The allocation was further decreased by Rs 225 crore to Rs 5,400 crore under plan head in 2016-17.
"The committee strongly recommend and urge the Ministry of Finance to provide an enhanced budget at the Revised Budget stage, in addition to the earlier allocation BE (Budget Estimate) of Rs 5,400 crore so that the vital schemes/programmes of Ministry of HUPA which are also the thrust areas of the government may not suffer for want of required wherewithal.
"This will ensure that the Ministry of HUPA successfully implements their schemes/programmes and achieve the desired results," it said.
On urban infrastuctue the panel said, "a new scheme for urban infrastructure creation should be initiated and all viable pending Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) projects, other than housing be allowed to be copmleted."
It also expressed dissatisfaction over HUPA's failure in providing basic data relating to its Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) to the committee and advised the ministry to get a suitable software for better administering and monitoring of the scheme.
"The committee advice the ministry to get a uniformly suitable software developed and circulated in this regard to all concerned for bette administering and monitoring of CLSS so that the present failure of the ministry in this regard is converted into success."
The committee also said that the reduced allocation in the plan allocation to the ministry from 2014-15 to 2016-17 is "not in harmony with the thrust government seems to want to provide" to its ambitious project 'Housing for All by 2022' and other programmes which are meant for urban poverty reduction and alleviation.
It said Rs 4,400 crore provided for Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Housing for All (Urban) may not be "adequate at all" with Rs 2,000 crore committed liability for already sanctioned/accepted projects and thus remaining Rs 2,000 crore practically left for utilisation during 2016-17.
"...the Ministry in their evidence before the committee has in fact stressed that they actually require Rs 8,815 crore as an enhanced budget," the committee said, while recommending enhanced budget to the Ministry.
It also recommended that some provision should be made to cap the final cost of the flat as per the area otherwise the builders may charge the "buyers whimsically", defeating the purpose of the affordable housing scheme.
It further suggested making mandatory for builders to pass on some pre-decided part of the tax exemption to the buyers.