Human existence is dependent on many factors. For existence and sustenance on Earth, human has some basic need like food, shelter and clothing. To meet the need and demand of shelter, we have developed the concept of housing. Housing, which is one of the basic necessities of life, is a serious problem facing our country now days.

As 2012 (12th Plan Five Year), the housing shortage is of the order of 26 million units for urban areas. It is supposed that the housing needs of the rural folk are negligible which might not be the case and may need further exploration. To meet such a huge need and ever increasing demand for improved and affordable housing is a pressing need of the hour.
Conventionally, the responsibility of urban development and providing developed sites, services and houses has been the prime responsibility of the government through Public agencies, viz. Housing Boards, Development Authorities, and Improvement Trusts etc.  But their slow pace of action has resulted in the accumulation of the housing need of the poorer sections. To augment the effects of the public agencies, government initiated programmes of co-operative housing and promoted non-government organizations to come forward.
Assessing the problems in housing sector, the government of India has come out with National Housing & Habitat Policy (1998), which envisages a major shift in the government’s role towards being a ‘facilitator’ rather than a ‘Provider’. The NHHP recognizes that the magnitude of the housing task calls for the involvement of several agencies including the government at different levels, the cooperatives, the community and the private sector. It aims to create a ‘housing revolution’ through facilitating creation of public-private partnerships and providing necessary fiscal and financial incentives along with creating legislative framework to give a significant boost to the housing and construction sector. The role of Corporate, Private and Cooperative sector has been defined to be the leaders for land assembly, land development, construction of houses and allied infrastructure. They have been coaxed to form partnerships whenever required with other stakeholders.
Following factors reflects the need for the public-private partnerships in housing sector.
(1)   To eliminate the existing housing shortage and providing for the new additions.
(2)   In light of the serious problem of housing shortage and budgetary constraints by the government, the public sector alone will not be able to solve the problem.
(3)   Housing for the poor is still a big challenge.
(4)   Land is a scarce resource if unregulated development is allowed then private developers will not care for the poor, hence partnership to keep checks and balances.
(5)   The efficient performance of the private developers has opened up new avenues of investment which can be channelized not only to meet the housing demand but also the housing needs of poor, who don’t demand.
The successful implementation of the public private partnership in the field of the urban housing can help us achieve the target of the planning commission for meeting the housing needs of the people in general and needs of poor people in particular. The modifications in the land acquisition act is under process to insure social justice. But real justice will come when every man on the country get a decent shelter. The government has been trying and is more or less successful in rural housing through various welfare schemes. The problems of housing in urban areas is aggravated by the increased rural to urban migration and limited resource and inaction of the public agencies engaged in the urban development and provision of housing. Surely, the combined effort of the public and private sector will go a long way in resolving the problem of housing shortage in urban areas. This will be insured by the heightened sense of accountability of the public sector and the efficient utilization of the resources by the private sectors. The cross-subsidization of the development can play a key role in sustaining the partnership.
By Shashikant Nishant Sharma
1.      Economic Policy & Analysis Cell, HUDCO(2004), Emerging Role Of Public-Private Partnership in Housing Sector, Memeo
2.      Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (2009), Guidelines for Affordable Housing in Partnership, , Accessed on 9 September 2013.
3.       PADCO (1990),Public Private Partnerships in Land Development, Report for USAID, 1990 
4.       Sharma, Shashikant Nishant (2013), Public Private Partnership for Municipal Services
5.       Sharma, Shashikant Nishant (2013), Sustainable Urban Development with Increased Mobility,
6.      Sinha, B.S, (2007), Bombay Dyeing & Mfg. Co. Ltd vs Bombay Environmental Action ... on 7 March, 2006,, Accessed on 9 September 2013.
7.      V. K. Dhar (2005), Public – Private Partnership in the Delivery of Serviced Land in Delhi, 5th National Convention & Exposition on ‘Housing for All’, New Delhi, March 2005.

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About Editor SNSharma

Author, Planning and Publishing Consultant