Even as India has been projected to become a super power by the year 2020, you may not want to start celebrating just yet. According to housing experts, by the same year, urban and semi-urban India would be facing a housing shortage of nearly 3 crore homes.
A report by international real estate consultancy firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) states that based on government figures itself, there would be a shortage of more than 30 million homes by 2020 and the current shortage by this year end is expected to go up to 26 million homes.
The current population of urban areas is 31.6 per cent of the total country’s population it has grown by a ratio of 2.8 per cent from the last census to this one.
This means more and more people in Mumbai, Delhi, Banglaore, Kolkata and other urban cities will be staying in homes that won’t fit the present definition of a house. It may be a shanty, just a roof over the head on the pavement, or a house shared by different families.
According to Head of Research at JLL Ashustosh Limaye, the reason behind the shortage is because of lack of affordable homes. The report focuses on how affordable homes are not being constructed for the Economical Weaker Section (EWS), Lower Income Group and the Middle Income Group.
The report reads, “In India, private developers primarily target luxury, high-end and upper-mid housing segments, since they fetch a premium over low income housing. On the other hand, housing for the poor and EWS is primarily provided by the government for welfare purposes. Hence, there exists a huge dearth in the supply of affordable houses primarily demanded by this income group in India.”
According to Limaye, the government needs to consider its priorities. “On one hand, we want to reach the moon by 2020 and at the same time, we will be falling short of housing for more than one-third of India’s population residing in urban cities,” he said.
However, Limaye says that the problem does have a solution. “The government should increase the FSI as only if it is increased, it would help expand the city vertically, and not horizontally. Give mandate to government agencies to construct homes, as acquiring land isn’t that big a trouble for them compared to private parties,” said Limaye.
If more homes aren’t constructed, the city would expand horizontally, which is happening currently. People are moving towards the suburbs, and thus putting strain on the already over-burdened transport infrastructure.
Simpreet Singh, coordinator of Ghar Banao Ghar Bachao Andolan, a housing movement claims that the government is trying to reduce the shortage but its efforts are futile. “The government is constructing affordable homes, but they are very few in number while the demand is huge.
For a few thousand MHADA homes, lakhs of people apply in the lottery, while the government does very little to construct more homes. No private builder is constructing small or affordable homes. The gap will widen if this attitude and approach continues,” he said. Nearly two years ago, the Maharashtra Chamber Housing Industry (MCHI) had come up with a plan of constructing five lakh affordable homes.
However, according to builders, the project is gathering dust. Paras Gundecha, president, MCHI said, “The problem can be solved, but for this, the government needs to take bold steps. We planned and wanted to help solve the issue, but the permissions from the government are pending and only when we get government support, things will move in the right direction.”