Social infrastructure needs policy facilitation

Bottom Line: The government’s policies go a long way in defining how the city and its economy will eventually shape up. They say leaving everything on the private developers often leads to a lopsided growth of the region. 

Social infrastructure, Amenities, Swimming pool, Policies for social infrastructure, Guidelines for social infrastructure, Responsibility of Social infrastructure, Social infrastructure in cities, India real estate news, Indian realty news, Real estate news India, Indian property market news, Realty Plus, Track2RealtyThe private developers can at the best maintain some components of social infrastructure like schools & hospitals, but not the key components like police station or post office in the vicinity.

And the nouveau rich today wants everything nearby, thus changing the world view of the government and the developers as far as luxury and investment are concerned.

Neeraj Bansal, Partner, Real Estate & Construction with KPMG India makes it a point when he says that even with the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model the government has to come forward as a partner in the true sense of the term to take it off well. According to him, some of the projects in India have gone well, like Delhi Metro or airport modernisation because there was a genuine partnership between public & private. He, however, feels the track record of Gurgaon is much better than many other places across the country.

“If the approach of the government is that we have awarded you the contract and now it is your responsibility then there is a problem. It won’t work if the mindset is that whatever the challenges, whether regulatory or land acquisition has to be dealt by the private partner alone. To make PPP successful the government has to play a much larger role to create the basic infrastructure, get the clearances and make the project attractive and then have the private expertise to execute it. So, the relationship should not change from partnership to agency and contractor. If this is carried as a partnership in its true sense, tomorrow there can be many success stories,” says Bansal.

The question is whether the respective Haryana Governments have done better than the rest of the Delhi-NCR to create the social infrastructure that led to the interest level of the MNCs, booming economy and the resultant luxury living.

Opinion is divided as physical infrastructure in this market has often been criticised for crumbling under the burden of its own growth. However, very few would doubt the fact that there has been a holistic and parallel growth of the social infrastructure in this market, helping it to grow as the ‘destination luxury’ of India.

What could be vouchsafed at this point of time is the fact that the combination of factors, right from physical infrastructure to social infrastructure, booming economy, quality commercial spaces and proximity to airport are the factors that helped Gurgaon shape up as the ‘destination luxury’.

Social Infrastructure challenges 

PPP model has thus far not succeeded in creation of social infrastructure

Land Acquisition Act fails to define whether creating social infrastructure is a public purpose

Recreation projects often blamed to be meant for the high & fly class

Gurgaon a case study of social infrastructure some of the best schools, hospitals, clubs, golf course etc epitomise Live, Work & Play 

Judicial intervention often defeats the objective of creating social infrastructure

The developers should not be left alone to create world class projects like Golf Course without the supporting and facilitating role of the government. From a developer’s perspective, government support is extremely important for any property market to grow and this support factor determines the potential of the given market. A recreation project cannot be planned where the basic facilities are not worth it to be called ‘location, location and location’.

Geographical positioning has to be supplemented with other logistics. From a buyer’s perspective, it is more about ‘connectivity, connectivity & connectivity’ that is a traction point. One just can not conceptualise a global city where social infrastructure and other contingency services are not around.

Rattan Hawelia, Chairman of Hawelia Group makes it an interesting observation when he says that the policies of the government often leave corridors of uncertainty on many fronts. According to him, the absence of a defined roadmap for the creation of social infrastructure is symptomatic of a deeper malaise in the way country’s urban planning is being managed.

“I am not sure how far it is deliberate and to what extent it is a result of the Indian standard of planning but the fact of the matter is that when it comes to the creation of the social infrastructure both the government and the developers just look at each other. We are already paying EDC External Development Charges) and IDC (Internal Development Charges) and if the policies define it like that we are ready to pay for the social infrastructure as well. If the government machinery still can not do so, at least allow us to create it by facilitating and not blocking,” says Hawelia.

In a nutshell, it may sound like basic infrastructure is what helps a location grow up as affordable housing zone, the fact of the matter is that luxury segment needs more of social infrastructure support and it can not be feasible unless the government lends a helping hand.

Land acquisition may be a critical issue today, but then the basic social infrastructure and contingency services continue to be the prerogative of the government bodies. Either they do it themselves or create a facilitating eco system. The judicial intervention, often on the flimsy grounds, is actually a dampener for the India’s tryst with urbanisation and creation of more functional urban centers.

By: Ravi Sinha


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