A House Over Every Indian's Head - How Close Are We? Review by Arun Puri ANAROCK

A House Over Every Indian's Head - How Close Are We? Review by Arun Puri ANAROCK

In previous years, strong political will was often highlighted as the most necessary catalyst for change in a country like India. It has arrived - Modi 2.0 has displayed a single-minded focus on many fronts, and not least of all in its promotion of affordable housing. There is little reason to second-guess this government's will to see its goals to fruition.

Nevertheless, developers face several roadblocks to adopting the affordable housing mantra wholeheartedly. Where will the necessary land in central urban areas come from? When will the basic infrastructure necessary to make the cheaper peripheral areas viable for affordable housing be built?

These are real challenges. Not surprisingly, of the total housing supply of 1,39,490 units in the top 7 cities in H1 2019, merely 39,840 units qualify for the Government’s incentives for affordable housing.

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) has set hard targets for the next 2 years. As per government's estimates, a total of 1.54 crore rural homes have been completed in the last five years. In the second phase of PMAY-G, during 2019-20 to 2021-22, 1.95 crore houses are to be provided to eligible beneficiaries.

With a fresh batch of over one lakh houses being sanctioned under the scheme, the cumulative number of houses sanctioned under PMAY-Urban has crossed 85 lakhs.

A series of policy reforms and schemes have pushed both supply and demand for affordable housing. With a total of 1.54 crore rural homes completed in the last few years, we may be a lot closer to the Government's target than it seems.

If RERA is implemented nationwide and the liquidity crisis is resolved, a lot more housing inventory will hit the market. However, the on-ground realization of the government's Housing for All by 2022 vision actually hinges only on three main factors:

The release of government-held land in urban areas (recognition and delineation of non-essential land currently held by government bodies such as Department of Heavy Industries, Indian Railways, Ministry of Public Enterprises and Port Trusts. The unlocking of such lands for affordable housing will also bring down prices)
The rapid development of support infrastructure (roads, water and electricity, sanitation and sewerage) in peripheral areas connecting them to cities' main workplace centres, and
Streamlining the housing projects approval process (single-window clearance, relooking at development control, amending Land Acquisition Rehabilitation Act, 2013.)

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