New Delhi: Terming the government's vision to provide housing for all by 2022 as "unrealistic", property consultant JLL India has said making available 2 crore urban houses and 4 crore rural houses is a "huge undertaking in itself" and without a clear roadmap in place, the target is "likely to remain unachievable".
"Viewed dispassionately, the current government's 'Housing for all by 2022' promise seems a bit unrealistic at the moment, as the modalities and concrete steps needed to be undertaken to achieve this goal have not been spelled out," said Anuj Puri, chairman and country head at JLL India.
Presenting the Budget for 2014-15, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had proposed allocation of Rs. 4,000 crore for the National Housing Bank or NHB with a view to increase the flow of cheaper credit for affordable housing to the urban poor/EWS (economically weaker section)/LIG (low income group) segment. Also announced was setting up of a Mission on Low Cost Affordable Housing to be anchored by the NHB.
The Union Budget for 2015-16, however, did not indicate any further steps on the 'housing for all by 2022' initiative.
The government's ambitious goal of achieving affordable housing for all requires a "clear, well-thought out policy document outlining the exact deliverables...accompanied by methods/initiatives to streamline the development process". This entails reducing approval time while providing specific incentives to build such houses on time, JLL India's Mr Puri said in a statement.
According to JLL, the goal is likely to remain unachievable in view of prevalent roadblocks related to land availability, easy credit and involvement of the private sector.
Making available 2 crore urban houses and 4 crore rural houses available will require not only sustained government interest and investment but also substantial private sector investment and involvement, Mr Puri added.
"However, the track record of government-built housing in terms of quantum and delivery timelines has been as abysmal as that of the private sector."
The Modi government has seven years in all to meet this target. Achieving this target in this timeframe, the property consultant says, "involves construction of 30 billion square feet of housing stock, or approximately 4 billion square feet per year assuming an average of 500 square feet per house (this is in line with creating smaller houses for the rural population and urban poor)".
"There is a need for systemic change in how the government perceives the entire issue of housing for the urban poor. Regulatory changes, faster approvals, removal of red tape and resolution of land litigation issues need to be adequately addressed to improve stakeholder participation."