Even as the government has met the quantitative targets under the Indira Awas Yojana (IAY), which envisages provision of shelter to millions of rural families that are below poverty line (BPL), its performance on other parameters is not so creditable.
Insufficient grant (Rs 25,000 per family) and flouting of norms have eclipsed the high outcome figures.
The Ministry of Rural Development's Outcome Budget for 2007-08 shows that 1.55 million houses were constructed under the scheme in 2005-06 as against the target of 1.44 million.
However, the ministry's monitoring reports for the period show that in several states, the guidelines were not followed, resulting in a number of deserving families being left out.
"The performance of the scheme was not up to the desired level in Nellore, Medak, Srikakulam and Ananthapur districts of Andhra Pradesh. In Ananthapur, identification was not properly done by the gram sabhas," the report says.
"In Godda district of Jharkhand, the really poor have either been left out or a large portion of the grants have been taken away by agents," it adds.
In north-eastern states like Meghalaya, well-off families benefited at the cost of the poor. "Old and widow women are shown separately and funds are procured for construction of houses adjacent to the family's main houses. This leads to non-BPL families getting extension to their houses done at the government's cost," the report observes.
In Jharkhand, there has been a delay in the release of funds. "In Lohardaga district, the main reason for the delay in the construction of houses is funds release," the report says.
The grant of Rs 25,000 per house is insufficient. "The grant provided was generally not sufficient and the beneficiaries had to contribute themselves for completion of the houses," the report says.
On Orissa, the report says that most houses are incomplete. Where complete, the houses were unfit for residential purposes. In most cases, the beneficiaries had to take loans for completing the houses, thus entering into debt traps.
Even for the hilly states in the North-East and Himachal Pradesh, the additional Rs 2,500 per house is not enough. "As the transportation costs are very high in hilly areas, there is a need to increase the amount to Rs 40,000 per house," the report from Mizoram said.
Besides, in states like Andhra Pradesh, the rural poor are opting for the state government schemes, which offer more incentives.
Smokeless chulhas and toilets, essential features of houses under the scheme, were not provided in most places.
Even the norm that the house should be in the name of the woman family member was flouted in some case. The ministry documents show that in 2005-06, 8.7 lakh out of the 1.5 million constructed houses are in the name of women family members.
But the norm does not seem to have been applied in some places. For example, in Ganjam district in Orissa, most houses are in the name of the male family members.