The news of four members, including 2 children, of a family dying in a mud house collapse in Rewa district of MP is heart-rending.
Incidents of collapse of mud houses have been causing deaths regularly in different parts of the country.
There have been multiple incidents in the recent past where lives have been lost due to collapse of thatched and mud houses.
It is a sad state of affairs that even after so many decades of independence, and so much economic progress, we have not been able to provide basic necessities to all those who need them.
We have several schemes in place to help the poor. However, there is a need to expand those schemes and include all families that fulfil the basic economic backwardness criteria.
The problem is that skewed government policies of picking beneficiaries on considerations other than economic are making such schemes futile as a portion of benefits are being cornered by those who may not be at the lowest rung of economic well-being scale.
There have been reports from different parts of the country where even illegal migrants and Rohingya infiltrators have been allocated houses under PM Awas Yojana, while a large number of poor families from communities considered so called upper castes remain deprived of the benefits.
The beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana are identified on the basis of the Socio-Economic and Caste Census of 2011. Before finalising the beneficiary list, the village panchayats are to be consulted.
However, the fact is that caste and vote considerations prevail over economic condition during allocation of such houses.
The reach of the scheme needs to be expanded. We surely are now in a position where we can provide low cost housing to all those who really need them.
The need and justification to discriminate on the basis of criteria other than economic remains only till there is a paucity of fund or shortage of resources.
India, surely, has reached a position to provide low cost housing to all those who need them.
There is a need for making the eligibility criteria, and the process of identifying the beneficiaries, simple and error-free.
Those who do not have a pucca roof over their heads deserve all the help to have one.