‘Positives expected from urban renewal schemes’: Niranjan Hiranandani

MUMBAI, 26 June, 2015: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday (25 June 2015) launched three urban rejuvenation schemes: (i) Smart Cities, (ii) Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and (iii) Housing for All. “I welcome the launch of the three urban rejuvenation schemes, these schemes entail investments that would amount to Rs 4 lakh crore,” said Niranjan Hiranandani, MD, Hiranandani Communities. “This investment has the potential to provide homes to the urban poor as also upgraded lifestyles in livable cities,” added Niranjan Hiranandani.

“I appreciate the spirit in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that ‘every person dreams of having his or her own home but a home is not just about having a roof and four walls’,” said Niranjan HIranandani. “From a long-term perspective, these three schemes can also provide a positive boost to the Indian economy. The proposed development of 100 smart cities coupled with urban infrastructure upgrades for 500 cities (using the PPP model) has the potential to create opportunities for real estate,” he added. Pointing out the linkage between these urban rejuvenation schemes and economic growth, the Prime Minister mentioned that, “Once a person owns his home, he starts dreaming about decorating it, for which he starts working harder. A house results in self motivation.” This is a positive that must not be missed, said Niranjan Hiranandani.

On what other things needed to be done in this regard, Niranjan Hiranandani said moves to have a softer interest regime were not the only thing required to boost real estate. “Interest subvention is not the only important thing. There are other issues, for example the service tax problem. We need to remove inequities in form of taxes like the service tax,” he added. While welcoming the three schemes launches as ’commendable’ and terming them as something that had the potential to ‘boost focussed growth’, Niranjan Hiranandani added that the government needs to unplug all such problems and ‘speed-breakers’ to ensure the positives envisaged in the three schemes ‘happen on time’.

“The process of permissions and clearances as also the approval process is horrendous and something that needs to be improved,” said Niranjan Hiranandani.

Evaluating the three schemes and what they propose as ‘India doing a China’ in infrastructure – by opting to focus on selected areas – Niranjan Hiranandani said the GDP growth in the country in the last 30 years has been concentrated at locations where congestion exists. “Hope fully, the three schemes will make a difference,” he said, adding that in his assessment, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying to kick-start the GDP with these three focused schemes.

Taking the potential of the three schemes a bit ahead, to the ‘implementation’ stage, Niranjan Hiranandani suggested three quick fixes which are needed to make these three schemes work. “First, we need to get the process of approvals in place. Second, there is a dire need to speed up land buying and approvals. Third and last, we need to get a fix on taxes – even reduce the impact, if it seems necessary,” he concluded.

KEY WORDS:

Niranjan Hiranandani, MD, Hiranandani Communities, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urban rejuvenation schemes, Smart Cities, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation, AMRUT, Housing for All, kick-start the GDP, provide homes to the urban poor, upgraded lifestyles in livable cities.

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