Why Govt Should Join Hands With The Private Sector For 'Housing For All' Mission
The Indian economy is growing at a fast pace. Over the next few decades, India will witness large-scale urbanisation, with over one crore more people living in urban areas. It is projected that by 2050, 50-60 per cent of India's population will start living in urban areas. This suggests that the demand for houses will shoot up in the newly urban areas, like in all major cities.
Major Tier-II and Tier-III cities will also witness a rise in housing demand, driving cumulative incremental residential demand to about 900,000 units between 2016 and 2020.
The government initiative, 'housing for all' is still not seen as important as it actually is. There is enough evidence to think that housing affordability is a problem. Yet, with India urbanising at a fast pace, the government is making efforts to ensure that housing is affordable for everybody.
The government is committed to fulfilling its vision of providing 'housing for all' by 2022. To make the initiative successful, the government is applying various strategies and robust implementation methods. But, there are still many challenges that require immediate attention. Availability of land and easy credit are one of the major challenges. The role of the private sector is bigger than it is believed.
The private sector can play an important role in the 'Housing for All' mission. The private sector will not only bring expertise, but also technology that can have a huge impact on the evolving concept of affordable housing.
Strengthening their role in government housing schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (PMAY) and the Rajiv Awas Yojna (RAY) will be a step forward. Participating in these schemes will not only ensure adequate revenues for real estate developers but will also increase the supply of houses.
Easing development control norms and building regulations will make housing more affordable.
The problem of land availability, accessibility, and rising costs are problems to be solved; State governments should tap the option of forming land banks made easily available to real estate developers with necessary approvals in place.
When it comes to building affordable houses, the use of prefabricated and pre-cast technologies are the most useful.
One of the important benefits of the pre-fabricated method is the rapidity with which the construction process takes place. As there are problems like shortage of skilled labour in the construction of houses, the technology of prefab method makes the process smoother. Technology allows hassle-free construction, allowing houses to be built faster.
Raising the purchasing power of individuals from the lower-income groups will also make housing more affordable.
Flexible payment procedures are a great tool too. Easing lending norms for real estate projects as well as allowing banks to fund land purchase to strengthen the stagnant real estate sector will also take us closer to achieve the 'housing for all' mission.
Pre-approved land parcels and adequate infrastructure facilities will significantly bring down the time taken on housing projects, as well the cost overruns that are a substance to rising housing prices.
Tax-related incentives like exemption from service tax for rental housing and customs duty exemption for construction machinery used to mass-produce low-cost housing units will contribute to attracting developers to invest in building affordable homes.
The 'Housing for All by 2022' mission will materialise only with complete dedication and contribution of the central and the state governments, along with the participation of the private sector.
A holistic approach involving the easy availability of land, cheap and easy financing, supportive legal framework and innovative technology are essential for making housing affordable for everybody.