An interaction with Mr. Laxman Jaiswal, Chairman cum Managing Director, Ascon Infrastructure (India) Limited

National News

1)    The story of your struggle

Ans: journey which began two decades back in the highly competitive real estate business and his strengths were absolute honesty and ability to put in hours of hard work, remain focused and steady determination. I lost my father at the age of 10 yrs when I was still studying in Std V in a Government run Hindi medium school from then on it was a struggle, youngest of 3 brothers and a sister, I completed my graduation in Commerce from City College after having to fill in my education fees giving away tuitions and other small jobs. After the graduation the drive to become an entrepreneur made me forego 2 plum jobs , one in the Police and the other one as a Hindi teacher in a Government school ( even with poverty staring at me). It was my entrepreneurial zeal that first landed me a partnership in a small electronic goods business and after a sour experience I came in contact with a person who had a disputed land in Beliaghata and thus started my joint venture in building homes, after a successful completion I once again did a joint venture with the same gentleman at Tala Park which too saw success and from then on I have scaled newer heights with each successful project.

Belonging from a middle class family, I always set out dreaming of a  mission for Bengal , I always felt that the biggest problem of the society was accommodation for Lower Income Group and the baser section of the Middle Income Group. It egged me to do something for them.

I had no proper infrastructure, resources and finance to start developing houses for needy people but I did not lose my patience and started the business with whatever I had with me. My journey of struggle began two decades back in the highly competitive real estate business and my strengths were absolute honesty and ability to put in hours of hard work, remain focused and steady determination. From a humble beginning where I had to literally struggle for two square meals a day, my dedication has turned into a reality a 100% complaint free company in Ascon Infrastructure (India) Limited .

2) What have you learnt from it that has helped you in your entrepreneurial journey?

 

Ans: The biggest take away from my journey has been the feeling of immense happiness and satisfaction in being able to provide shelter for the weaker sections of the society. Our country really needs these initiatives. Remaining focussed, never losing patience and years and hours of determination, labour and grit has no substitute in any entrepreneurial journey and so has been my case too.

3) What made you take up entrepreneurship?

 

Ans: Ofcourse my mission of making affordable homes for the society always motivated me to take up the entrepreneurship. But as I have mentioned earlier I actually had it within me to chart out my own course of livelihood in form of entrepreneurship, I actually sacrificed two job opportunities to dabble in business and here I am today, happy and satisfied. I always feel either you have it in yourself or you don’t have it in you to make it on your own. 

4) Your journey since you took up entrepreneurship?

 

Ans: It was my entrepreneurial zeal that first landed me a partnership in a small electronic goods business and after a sour experience I came in contact with a person who had a small piece of land in Beliaghata and thus started my joint venture in building homes, after a successful completion I once again did a joint venture with the same gentleman at Tala Park which too saw success and from then on I have scaled newer heights with each successful project.

My start-up was from Prime Realtors Pvt. Ltd. then M/S. Shree Valley Realtors Pvt. Ltd.  along with a sister concern Ascon Infrastructure (India) Pvt Ltd. Parallel to it I was also involved in ARK IT Consulting Services. With continuous sincere and  hard work, i got Ascon Infrastructure (India) Pvt. Ltd.  upgraded to Ascon Infrastructure (India)Limited Company. Recently, I have planned to branch out in other fields as Media, Entertainment, Education and Medical Services seeing both the needs of the Society and opportunities in these segments.    

5) What made you take up affordable housing?

 

Ans: According to the 2011 census out of 24.67 crore households in India, 32% urban households. The share of households living in owned houses is 69% in urban areas. According to estimates, around 600 million people are expected to make urban India their home by 2031, a whopping 59% growth over 2011. The current housing deficit in India stands at 19 million units, which, in the absence of any meaningful intervention, is slated to double to 38 million units by 2030. 95% of this deficit is around the EWS (Economically Weaker Sections) and LIG (Low Income Group) segments, which technically puts the figure at a staggering 18 million units in this category (approximately). While this number is huge, there is also a substantial chunk of upper end of LIG band and lower to middle end of MIG band, which we can say comprises ‘the emerging middle class’, who are also deprived of decent living conditions. The deficit in this category is approximately 4 lakh units, which, if not addressed, would further aggravate the proliferation of unplanned and unsustainable urbanisation. Statistics show that more than 80% of this category is staying in congested homes. Affordable housing project is the future of Indian realty sector. The increase in price of almost everything has forced a customer to redesign its expenses matching with his income. Now the days have gone where a MIG customer can afford a house. Most of the people believe in nuclear family and they are not willing to spend huge money for their living. Only affordable housing is the answer to their requirement. Decent, affordable housing is fundamental to the health and well-being of people and to the smooth functioning of the economy. Against the backdrop of impending large scale urbanization in India over the next few decades, it is important to identify, evaluate the needs of, and address the challenges faced by the largest chunk of urban housing consumers with the most pressing needs – the Affordable Housing customer.

 

6) How do you think affordable housing will impact social development in India?

Ans: Affordable housing will have a huge impact on the society. It will provide home for Lower MIG & LIG people in Tier I & Tier II cities. This will indirectly increase the GDP of the state. Developers will have the opportunity to generate employment from neighbourhood residents when starting a new project. The lack of available housing options, combined with limited income and minimal access to home finance for low income borrowers, means that millions of Indian households currently live in cramped, poorly constructed houses/slum areas/shanties. They lack access to a clean and healthy environment, with even basic amenities such as sanitation, clean water, sewage, waste management and electricity often absent. Thus, ‘Affordable Housing’ is an idea whose time has come, and sooner rather than later, planned sustainable urbanisation will have to be by default and not by choice.

7) Where do you see the affordable housing sector in next 5 years?

 

Ans: Presently affordable housing is mainly based in Tier I & Tier II city. But in the next 5 years this will spread to more small towns where scope of income is developing. Affordable housing projects would become a necessity in industrial area where the number of weaker economical group is increasing day by day. The recently announced Housing for All missions is a step in the right direction to transform the Affordable Housing paradigm in India. Initiatives like the redefining of EWS/LIG categories, interest subvention schemes and incentives to private players are definitely great first steps taken in addressing the housing deficit challenge facing the nation today. For example, the interest subvention scheme of 6.5% is expected to substantially reduce the cost of home ownership for end users as the effective rate of interest can be as low as 3.5% to 4%, post accounting for the subvention up to a loan amount of first 6 Lakhs, which again has a scope to be relooked at for raising the limit of the loan size eligible for subvention. This can motivate the real target segment to overcome their hesitation and take that crucial first step towards formal home ownership.

 

8) How will affordable housing change the dynamics of real estate industry?

Ans:- Real Estate in India is poised for a major transformation since the industry is witnessing many landmark changes like the entrance of big conglomerates in real estate which is altering the dynamics of real estate. The demand for real estate is expected to climb upwards. The affordable housing segment is expected to comprise 85-90 percent of the total residential segment. At the same, we have seen a discernible shift in the consumer sentiments, with consumers in the age group of 27-35 are now emerging as the new group of buyers since they are freshly into jobs and are looking for means to invest their income surplus. Increased demand for affordable houses rising up by Government initiatives such as housing for all by 2022 and the home loan incentivising scheme has led to increase in the huge number of Housing Finance Companies. A lot of policy developments and new initiatives have been introduced by government this year. Schemes like ‘Housing for All by 2022’, the Smart Cities mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), etc. will propel the real estate sector next year. The rules for FDI in the real estate sector have been eased. Under which, non-repatriable investments by NRIs as also PIOs will be considered as domestic investments. 

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