Seminar on “Role of Real Estate Developers in Affordable Housing and Climate Change”
November 21, 2014, IHC New Delhi
India’s urban population has grown from 28% in 2001 to 31% in 2011 with more than 370 million people residing in cities and this share is estimated to reach 50 percent by 2050. As the urban population and incomes increase, demand for basic services such as water, transportation, sanitation, affordable housing will increase manifold in cities of every size and type. Both these growth and demand could have serious consequences on the environment if not managed in an appropriate manner.
Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation estimated an urban housing shortage of nearly 18.78 million households in 2012; Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) and Low Income Groups (LIG) which together constitute over 95% of this total housing shortage. The Government sponsored housing schemes have failed to meet the ever growing target and to deliver housing that gives value for money, thus there is a need that apart from public housing, private sector developers also provide affordable housing to reduce the housing shortage.
In the recent past, many entrepreneurs from the industry have been showing interest in this area and “Private Sector Affordable Housing Projects” have been emerging in many cities of India. While these housing products are slightly more expensive than the conventional government subsidized “low income housing”, they are still affordable to a large section of the society. The challenges today are to incentivize such private developers to take active interest in the supply of affordable housing and provide the necessary fiscal and resource inputs to encourage this segment of the industry.
Thus in order to facilitate sharing of ideas and learning from different private developers working in Affordable Housing in different parts of the country, a workshop was organized by School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi on November 21, 2014 at the India Habitat Centre in collaboration with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The Honorable guests for the workshop were Mr Rakesh Ranjan, Advisor, Planning Commission, Govt. of India, Dr P Jaypal, Senior Executive Director,HUDCO, representatives from Private Developers working in Affordable Housing sector from different cities, faculty members and students from School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi (SPA) and officials from GIZ.
The seminar started with a welcome note by Dr Prof P S N Rao, Head of the Department of Housing, SPA and opening remarks by Dr (Mrs) Regina Dube, Senior Advisor, GIZ followed by the address note by the guest of honor, Dr P Jaypal. Dr Jaypal mentioned that Real Estate is the fastest growing sector in Indian economy and also one of the major employment providers of our country. He then raised the questions - what is Affordable Housing and whom does this cater to? He ended with the note that there is a lot of potential for Real Estate sector to invest in Affordable housing with new technologies to address environmental issues.
Mr Rakesh Ranjan, chief guest for the day highlighted the following main issues:
- What should be the minimum size of the house for affordable housing? Should the Government prescribe any minimum size for affordable housing or should it be left to the market?
- How to get land for affordable housing within the city? (He mentioned that land is expensive because of policies and can something be done to alter this)
- Can green building technologies be made cheap so that the private developers pick up the technology and utilize them?
Representatives from various private Real Estate developers working in Affordable Housing sector from different cities who gave the presentations on their projects were Mr Sanjay Shah, Chairman & Managing Director from DBS Communities Ahemdabad, Mr Abhinav Srivastav, AVP (Proj. M[S1] .) from VBHC, Bhiwadi, Mr Piyush Khandelwal, AVP Design from TATA Housing Mumbai and Mr Ritesh Mathur, AGM Brand Communications from Signature Global, Gurgaon.
Mr Frank Samol, Senior Consultant, GIZ then shared the learnings from Germany on affordable housing projects.
The workshop concluded with an interactive discussion about the issues raised and the new ideas shared by the participants.