India’s largest real estate developer DLF has given a new definition to housing for economically weaker sections (EWS). A senior company executive recently proposed to urban development minister Jaipal Reddy—and was promptly snubbed—that servant quarters attached to highend apartments be counted as the developer’s contribution towards EWS, according to a source in the government.
As per the proposed guidelines, a developer must build at least 35% of dwelling units or 15% of permissible FAR (ratio of developable space to total area available for a project), whichever is higher, for EWS in all group housing projects in Delhi.
As this would mean building cheap accommodation in posh colonies and losing out on revenue, DLF tried to float the ‘servant quarter’ proposal to get around this stipulation. The company has never been comfortable with the EWS quota.
This mindset, however, runs counter to the government’s efforts to ensure more dwelling space for members of economically weaker sections, who now find it impossible to buy a house in metros and suburbs. The realty boom of the past four years has seen housing prices climb three-fold in several markets.
AIn just a year, DLF’s net profit rose almost four times, from Rs 1,934 crore to Rs 7,856 crore in FY08. However, there has been little initiative by developers to cater to the needs of those who can’t afford expensive houses. Private developers have mostly confined themselves to high-end apartments, which offer fat margins.