The Kerala government on Tuesday asked the union government for an exemption from displaying its logo on houses constructed under various schemes, saying it would compromise the dignity of beneficiaries -- as a safe living space is their basic right, and not a gift.
In a letter written to Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri, state minister M B Rajesh urged the union government to take into account the perspective of the state government in its "mission to provide dignified living" for the homeless.
He said that Article 21 of the Indian Constitution affords every individual inalienable entitlement to a dignified life without discrimination and claim to equal respect from the state and fellow citizens.
Stating that the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) schemes are executed in coordination with the state-sponsored initiative, Life Mission, he said the state government and local bodies jointly contribute financial assistance of Rs four lakh per house.
It's noteworthy that this is the highest amount offered by any state government in the country, he added.
"We've chosen not to brand our state scheme, as branding may imply charity, potentially affecting the dignity and self-respect of beneficiaries. We are steadfast in our commitment to upholding democratic values and ensuring people's right to a dignified life, without any implication of charity," the minister said.
The Left leader said that despite the multiple appeals of the state government, it was informed by the Centre that non-compliance may affect further funding.
"We express our concern that affixing branding logos on houses may inadvertently compromise the dignity and self-respect of beneficiaries. We believe that a safe living space is a basic right, and the state's duty is to ensure it, not present it as a gift," Rajesh said.
Kerala has completed 3,56,108 houses in the state as of October 31, 2023, which includes 79,860 houses under PMAY (Urban) and 32,171 under PMAY (Gramin), Rajesh said in the letter.
"For each PMAY(U) beneficiary, in addition to the central share of Rs 1.50 lakh, the state government and local self-government institutions jointly contribute an additional amount of Rs 2.50 lakh," the minister said.
The state government urged the minister to adopt a holistic approach and reconsider the decision to affix branding logos on the houses built under various schemes.
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