Af­ford­able hous­ing: have we got it right?

Con­sumer needs must be mapped to make th­ese schemes suc­cess­ful

HT Estates - - HTESTATES - Van­dana Ram­nani

The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yo­jana - Hous­ing for All by 2022 Mis­sion seeks to ad­dress the hous­ing short­age in the coun­try. The mis­sion pro­vides cen­tral as­sis­tance to Ur­ban Lo­cal Bod­ies ( ULBs) and other i mple­ment­ing a g e ncies through states/ UTs for in­situ re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of ex­ist­ing slum dwellers us­ing land as a resource through private par­tic­i­pa­tion; through cred­itlinked sub­si­dies; af­ford­able hous­ing in part­ner­ship and sub­sidy for ben­e­fi­ciary-led in­di­vid­ual house con­struc­tion/en­hance­ment.

Some states are await­ing sub­si­dies from the Cen­tre for af­ford­able hous­ing projects while oth­ers have sent their pro­pos­als to the cen­tre. “So far there has been an en­thu­si­as­tic re­sponse to the mis­sion but some states are tak­ing time to match fund­ing. The main ques­tion is whether af­ford­able hous­ing is ac­tu­ally meet­ing the pur­pose of those it in­tends to serve,” say ur­ban plan­ners.

So­cial hous­ing and af­ford­able hous­ing are two dif­fer­ent things. Af­ford­able hous­ing is tar­geted at the mid­dle in­come group and not the eco­nom­i­cally weaker class, but buy­ers of­ten de­cide to give af­ford­able hous­ing projects a miss be­cause th­ese are largely seen as cater­ing to the lower in­come group, they say.

Ur­ban plan­ners say that while the af­ford­able hous­ing schemes launched by dif­fer­ent states are laud­able, the gov­ern­ment needs to re­search what con­sumers want in or­der to make such projects scal­able. Apart from the pre­ferred size to a buyer’s ba­sic re­quire­ments, the gov­ern­ment needs to find out more how much ownership hous­ing is ac­tu­ally re­quired ver­sus rental hous­ing.

In to­day’s eco­nomic sce­nario, there may not be many tak­ers for this hous­ing for­mat as there is al­ready an over­sup­ply of hous­ing in cer­tain mi­cro mar­kets. “Even if the gov­ern­ment is con­trol­ling the price, the tar­get au­di­ence is still the same. The spa­tial un­der­stand­ing of de­mand gives an idea about how much stock should come up in an area. Also, though the pol­icy on ur­ban rental hous­ing is on the anvil, the cur­rent schemes are fo­cused only on ownership hous­ing,” says Mukta Naik, se­nior re­searcher at the Cen­tre for Pol­icy Re­search, In­dia.

Most coun­tries main­tain a list of peo­ple who are home­less and pro­vide them hous­ing de­pend­ing on their needs. Once they are re­ha­bil­i­tated, they are also asked to va­cate houses pro­vided to them by the gov­ern­ment. But in In­dia, there is no mech­a­nism by which hous­ing ben­e­fi­cia­ries can be tracked. The af­ford­able hous­ing stock is of­ten sold to prop­erty own­ers who can buy homes in any case.

Also, at times, the gov­ern­ment sup­plies too much of af­ford­able hous­ing stock and much of it re­main un­used.


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