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A home for every Indian. A slogan that is on its way to become a reality by 2022 and it is a moment of pride and fulfilment for every Indian. Surveys across nations have proved that one of the top desire of ownership among humans is home ownership. Sustainable home ownership results in wealth creation for the nation as much as it is for individuals. So is home ownership just a matter of facilitating homes for every (deprived) citizen or does it have a larger impact on a nation? Does it impact a country’s human development index (HDI)?

HDI is calculated as a statistic composite index of life expectancy, education and per capital income indicators. It determines each country’s rank in the four development tiers of increased lifespan, higher education level and finally, higher per capital GDP. The below points capture unmeasured yet qualitative aspects of home ownership that ultimately gets captured or affect each country’s HDI score.

Saluting self-reliance: In the Indian context, the current government’s focus on affordable home ownership is more about saluting the self-reliant nature of Indians from the informal sector, rather than giving away free housing. The informal sector consists of Indians who are ‘credit worthy’ and have the ability to service their loans, yet are still not included in India’s financial (banking) system.

Today, millions of urban Indians from the informal sector are able to build a sense of identity and confidence in their achievements, abilities and aspirations, not just a home. The Indian economy has a unique micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector, whose contribution has been under-noticed due to the government’s inability to build measurement-led statistics that is comparable to the organized sector. Today, alongside HDI, appreciating Indians with home ownership is about saluting their self-reliance and their ability to be self-sufficient in an eco-system which is empathy led yet merit based.

Exiting the circle of poverty conundrum: Most in India’s informal sector have been since long time embattling the circle of poverty, due to market imperfections. Inspite of earning a living, often by multiple family members, poor savings, illiteracy and often life-long repayment commitments to local unscrupulous money lenders have resulted in the unending cycle of poverty. Alongside, poor implementation of various welfare schemes insured that it never reached the intended beneficiary.

Affordable home ownership today is definite opportunity for Indians especially in the economically weaker section (EWS) and low income group (LIG) sector to exit the circle of poverty conundrum once for all. With every Indian’s informal income commanding formal credit with government subsidy and guarantee, home ownership asset will have a multiplier effect on informal sector in creating a respectable and economically dependable asset for future credit and financial transactions

Creating a path for respectful existence: As in many cultures, class-based discrimination has been a bane of many countries in their tryst with socioeconomic development. India, also unfortunately, has been acutely affected whereby an invisible line has been drawn between the haves and have nots. With no permanent address, no stability of family education, no safety net of health and well-being, informal sector participants even after having an earning source, were not accepted in the societal mainstream.

Today, informal sector customers in urban habitats across India are able to reclaim an existence that is respectful and permanent. Their first home has given every such Indian an identity for the entire family to live a life with dignity, pride and self-assurance. Their contribution in building a modern and sustainable urban India with newer and smarter cities and towns and rebuilding current ones with re-development, catchments & extensions can no more be denied, hidden or faded away.

When humans gets confident that our existence and place in society will be measured by our capabilities and achievements, and not by our class or colour (background), it unleashes the power of human imagination, will power and capacities to achieve what was till now unachievable. This is the real contribution that the first home ownership is delivering for every Indian

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