BJP Attacks Odisha Govt Over State Logos on Rural Housing Scheme

The BJP called the co-branding of the scheme a “deceptive” action to “discredit” welfare schemes implemented by the Centre.

New Delhi: The BJP’s Odisha unit locked horns with the Biju Janata Dal-led state government over the latter including its state housing scheme logo in the branding of a Centre-sponsored rural housing scheme.

According to a report in the Indian Express, the BJP called the co-branding a “deceptive” action to “discredit” welfare schemes implemented by the Centre.

BJP has demanded that Biju Pucca Ghar Yojna (BPGY) logos be removed from the houses granted to beneficiaries under the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G).

In a letter to the state government on Tuesday, the Union Rural Development Secretary Nagendra Nath Sinha said, “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.”

The letter also said that any move to co-brand the scheme would lead to misinterpretation among the beneficiaries regarding the benefits of the scheme. “I wish to reiterate that the scheme PMAY-G has been approved by the Union Cabinet as a centrally-sponsored scheme. It is to be implemented in its original form…,” Sinha said in the letter and added that the use of a state-scheme logo is not permissible under the provisions of the PMAY-G. “I would, therefore, once again request you to use the official logo only.”

On Wednesday, the opposition BJP created a ruckus in the Odisha assembly, seeking a statement from the state government over the Union government’s communication to the administration to not co-brand the Centre’s housing scheme with the logo of Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana. The issue was raised in the assembly by Leader of Opposition P.K. Naik of the BJP as soon as the house assembled for the Question Hour.

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The saffron party members rushed to the well, demanding a statement on the issue, while Congress MLAs expressed displeasure over the hike in the power tariff. “We have been raising objections on the state government’s act of co-branding the PMAY with the Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana, which has been going on for long now,” Naik said.

He also said that while the picture of Biju Patnaik is prominently depicted in the logo, the state government has chosen to depict “PMAY-G” in small letters. Naik said that the administration wanted to gain political mileage out of this and give a false assurance to the people that houses were being provided by the BJD government.

“Now, after the Centre’s instruction, we demand the government announce on the floor of the House that there will be no co-branding of the PMAY-G,” he said. Amid the pandemonium, speaker S.N. Patro adjourned the proceedings for one hour.

The BJD government however claims that using the BPGY logo is in accordance with norms as the state share is 50%. “There is nothing wrong in using the Biju logo… and we shall continue to do so… Since the state’s contribution is more than half, so using the logo is justifiable,” Odisha Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water Minister Pratap Jena told the assembly.

Launched in April 2016, PMAY-G, the flagship scheme of the ministry of rural development aims to built pucca houses with basic amenities for all rural households who are homeless or living in a kutcha or dilapidated house by the end of March 2022. The assistance released to the beneficiaries is funded by the centre and the state in the ratio of 60:40.

The BPGY, on the other hand, was launched by the Odisha government to convert all the mud houses to cemented ones.

(With inputs from PTI)