Nearly 30 million people living in urban India do not have a house of their own. Instead of seriously addressing this gap and the need to build the same, or a larger, number of new houses in rural areas, the attempt on the part of our developers has so far been to maximise profits. As a result, we have priced out many aspiring home buyers and disillusioned those who invested and now find that they have not got value for their money.
Blaming the cost of land does not augur well for responsible real estate players because it is like the chicken and egg story. Affordable houses for the middle class in the range of Rs 10 lakh (one bhk), Rs 20 lakh (two bhk) and Rs 30 lakh (three bhk) is possible.
National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) will not hesitate to take the lead. This will go a long way in satisfying the urban need.
However, the needs of the rural populace are more important, both socially and demographically so that implementing the PURA (Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural areas) concept of providing urban facilities in rural areas does not remain a dream but creates an opportunity for reverse migration from cities to villages. For this, the government has to demonstrate political will and public sector players like NBCC will be more than willing to pilot any such scheme.
Playing the card of regulations, taxation, government sops, etc, is like making excuses for not having taken the bull by the horn.
Once such initiatives are taken and the political and administrative will is there, things should fall in place as we go along. The year thus gives us the slate to make a new beginning.
(As told to Vandana Ramnani)