The Union rural development ministry has asked the Odisha government not to use the logo of the state-run housing scheme, Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana (BPGY), with the centrally-sponsored Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G) and sought the Central scheme’s implementation in the state its original form under the agreed funding pattern, setting up the stage for a fresh round of confrontation over the issue between the state’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the opposition.
“The contribution of minimum State share from state resources is a commitment by the State Government for implementation of Centrally Sponsored Scheme and it does not confer the rights to the State Government for use of any other logo other than PMAY-G. This will also lead to misinterpretation of the scheme among the PMAY-G beneficiaries about the benefits of the scheme. …The ministry had conveyed to the States/UTs in the past to use only the official logo of PMAY-G. The logo of BPGY is not permissible under the provisions of the PMAY-G,” Union rural development secretary Nagendra Nath Sinha wrote to Odisha chief secretary Suresh Mohapatra.
PMAY-G, the flagship scheme of the ministry of rural development gives ₹1.3 lakh assistance to the homeless in Maoist-infested areas and ₹1.2 lakh in non-Maoist areas to build a minimum of 25 sq m of cemented house. Besides, the beneficiary avails 90/95 days wage through convergence with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and ₹12,000/- for construction of a toilet under the Swachh Bharat Mission. The assistance released to the beneficiaries is funded by the centre and the state in the ratio of 60:40.
The BPGY was launched by the Odisha government in 2014-15 to convert all the mud houses to cemented ones. Like the PMAY-G, its beneficiaries get ₹1.2 lakh and ₹1.3 lakh assistance in non-Maoist and Maoist-affected areas respectively. Since 2017-18, Odisha has been using both PMAY-G and BPGY logos on the houses constructed under the Central scheme. Apart from contributing its 40% share, the Odisha government is providing ₹20,000 incentive to beneficiaries who build houses within four months of the release of the first instalment and ₹10,000 to those who build houses within six months.
The BJD has responded to the letter by justifying the rebranding, claiming the Odisha govt was paying 50% cost for the houses under the PMAY-G scheme. “We are almost paying for 49% of the amount if the incentive is taken into account. So what is the problem with using the logo of BPGY on the house,” asked a BJD leader, who didn’t wish to be named.
The BJP was opposing the use of the BPGY logo for PMAY-G houses since December last year and even tore off the stickers displaying the co-branding. BJP Mahila Morcha then filed an FIR against chief minister Naveen Patnaik accusing his government of using the BPGY logo for appropriating false credit for a Central scheme. “It’s unfortunate that the state government is resorting to such publicity,” said Pradipta Naik, a BJP leader.
This fight seems to be a rerun of the controversy over the state government’s logo on the ambulance service funded by the National Health Mission. Launched in 2013 with funding from the Centre, the scheme was projected by the state government as its own initiative during the last assembly elections. A year later, the state government was forced to rename Odisha emergency ambulance service to National ambulance service following much protest from the BJP and prodding by the Union health ministry.