Embrace low cost techniques for affordable housing: ASSOCHAM
MUMBAI: A top industry body Saturday underlined the need for developing and embracing low cost technologies to cater to the growing demand for affordable housing, especially for the lower and middle income groups in the country. India is currently facing a shortage of around 18.78 million homes and the main reason behind falling sales is the mismatch between the price range of the housing offered and the type and costs of units demanded, Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry ( ASSOCHAM) President Rana Kapoor said. Kapoor said that the National Housing Board figures indicate that 10.55 million homes are required for the economically weaker sections (EWS) and 7.41 million for the lower income groups (LIG). It is further estimated that another 15 million households are situated in "unacceptably congested conditions" with the current demands being in urban and semi-urban areas, Kapoor said. "Presently, builders are mostly offering premium homes, whereas the demand is higher for affordable housing in the Rs.500,000- Rs.2.50 million segment," Kapoor pointed out. In order to overcome this mismatch, Kapoor reiterated the realty industry's demand to accord "infrastructure status" to affordable housing which will make the low-cost housing segment more affordable and it will also be eligible for various incentives. He urged state governments to adopt a proactive role in creating affordable housing and work on the public private partnership model with realtors to develop such projects. Besides, lending institutions must develop customised lending models taking into consideration buyers requirements and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) should bring in policy changes for accommodating the demand for loans in the affordable housing category. Kapoor urged builders to use low cost technology to help ease the supply crunch and create adequate affordable housing. He referred to how IIT Madras recently constructed a two-storey building using cost effective glass fibre reinforced gymsum panels.