Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday allocated ₹48,000 crore towards completion of 80 lakh houses under Prime Minister Awas Yojana (PMAY) in rural and urban areas during 2022-23 while presenting the Union Budget.

"In 2022-23, 80 lakh houses will be completed for the identified eligible beneficiaries of PM Awas Yojana, both rural and urban and ₹ 48,000 crore is allocated for this purpose," the finance minister said. The central government will work with state governments to reduce time required for all land and construction-related approvals for promoting affordable housing for the middle class and economically weaker sections in urban areas, Sitharaman says.

“Allocation of ₹48,000 crore towards completion of 80 lakh homes under PMAY is a welcome step,” says Harshvardhan Patodia, president of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Associations of India (CREDAI). Launched in 2015, PMAY addresses housing shortage among economically weaker sections including the slum dwellers by ensuring a pucca house to all eligible households by 2022.

The finance minister also allocated ₹60,000 crore for the Nal Se Jal scheme, meant to expand the network of rural tap water connections, to cover 3.8 crore households in 2022-23. The minister said the tap water scheme, launched in August 2019, now covers around 8.8 crore households.

Sitharaman also announced the Vibrant Villages Programme which covers villages along the northern border of the country. “Border villages with sparse population, limited connectivity and infrastructure often get left out from the development gains. Such villages on the northern border will be covered under the new Vibrant Villages Programme. The activities will include construction of village infrastructure, housing, tourist centres, road connectivity, provisioning of decentralized renewable energy, direct to home access for Doordarshan and educational channels, and support for livelihood generation,” she says.

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