PM should provide enabling environment for affordable housing: Anand Mahindra

Suprotip Ghosh        Last Updated: June 16, 2014  | 19:38 IST
PM should provide enabling environment for affordable housing: Anand Mahindra
Anand Mahindra, Chairman , M&M Group.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government needs to provide an enabling environment for affordable housing projects, according to Anand Mahindra, Chairman , M&M Group.

Mahindra was speaking at an event to unveil the logo and details of an affordable housing foray from Mahindra Lifespaces called 'Happinest'. Mahindra said if the government truly wants a home for every Indian family, they will need to create an environment where "projects like these can succeed".

"If I was in New Delhi I would be trying to see that…policy streamlining becomes real", Mahindra said, speaking on the need for an environment that would make such projects profitable, "Can the central government, through incentives, through creation of templates facilitate state governments to provide the kind of ecosystem we need? Not just the technology but even for providing better financial incentives for the consumers themselves?"

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said earlier this month that providing houses for all by 2022 should be a "movement" and everyone should pitch in to achieve this goal. "We're undertaking this project at a time when the new Prime Minister has announced his grand vision," Mahindra said.

Mahindra is starting the initiative in the shape of two pilot projects in the Mumbai suburb of Boisar and the Chennai locality of Avadi. Mahindra Lifespaces will be constructing around 2500 apartments as part of these pilot projects, Managing Director and CEO Anita Arjundas said. The apartments will be between 350 square feet and just below 700 square feet in area, said Arun Nanda, chairman, Mahindra Lifespaces Developers Ltd. said. Land was purchased for the projects sometime last year.

The Avadi project will start in July, while the Boisar project will begin construction in August, Arjundas said. India currently has a shortfall of 1.9 crore houses, which will double by 2030, Arjundas said as part of a presentation. The company intends to finish construction on these projects in six to seven months, and would try to hand over the tenements to buyers in under a year.

Mahindra Lifespaces wants to avoid the usual auction route for affordable housing, and would individually target potential buyers with price between Rs 10 and 20 lakh on equated monthly instalments (EMI), Arjundas said. She added that this would need ensuring financial literacy among buyers, since many of them wouldn't have proper documentation and experience with EMI. In this way, the project would come under the purview of financial inclusion as well, she said.

But success will depend on not just the technology but also on financial incentives for the consumer. "That's how you will get inclusion. Then you will create sustainable scalable replicable projects like this that will attract private entrepreneurs," Mahindra said.

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