Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) Limited is a wholly-owned government company with over 46 years of experience in providing loans for housing and urban infrastructure projects in India. The company has been conferred the status of “Miniratna” by the Government of India. With Prime Minister Narendra Modi giving stress on the housing and infrastructure sectors, the role of HUDCO has become much more crucial. In an emailed interview to The Sunday Guardian, HUDCO Chairman and Managing Director M. Ravi Kanth talks about how the company plans to implement the PM’s dream of housing for all and various other issues. Excerpts:

Q. The Centre is giving special thrust on the housing and infrastructure sectors. What role can HUDCO play in schemes related to these sectors, especially the Smart Cities Mission and Housing for All Mission?

A. India is making rapid strides towards urban future, and by 2030, urban areas are expected to house 40% of India’s population and contribute 75% of India’s GDP. This obviously requires large-scale investments and effective planning to ensure comprehensive development of physical, institutional, social and economic infrastructure and housing for all. In 2015, the Prime Minister launched the Smart Cities Mission and Housing for All Mission, to generate momentum and propel urban development efforts in the country towards ensuring an improved quality of life in urban areas. To operationalise both these schemes, there will be a huge requirement of funds over and above the government allocation. This presents a good opportunity for HUDCO for business development in financing, design consultancy, urban redevelopment and capacity building in the housing and infrastructure sectors.

HUDCO has been identified as one of the Central Nodal Agencies (CNA) for the Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) component of the Affordable Housing Mission.  I am sure that in the years to come, HUDCO will emerge as one of the leading institutions in the country to address the dual challenge of social housing delivery as well as the provision of urban infrastructure services.

Q. Several state governments are launching social housing schemes, especially for the poor. How do you plan to involve HUDCO in these schemes?

A. India needs big investments and proper planning to ensure an improved quality of life in urban areas. As per the Report of The Technical Group on urban housing shortage, for the XII Plan, the housing shortage in 2012 was 18.78 million units. HUDCO is fully geared to take up the challenge of social housing delivery. The future growth path for the housing portfolio of HUDCO as envisioned in our Corporate Plan-2020, anticipates an increase in the social housing operations to a significantly higher level, so as to retain HUDCO’s role as the only housing finance company (HFC) of its kind with a mandate of “profitability with social justice”. HUDCO’s focus is to support the government in creation of affordable and safe housing stock for the nation and we are constantly striving to “reach the unreached” sections of the population to make the housing dream a reality for everyone. The state governments are key partners for achieving this end.

Q. How has been the response of the recent initial public offering by HUDCO?

A. The initial public offering (IPO) of HUDCO received an overwhelming response from investors. The issue received over 20 lakh applications and was oversubscribed 80 times. The QIB (Qualified Institutional Buyers) part was oversubscribed 55 times and the NII (Non Institutional Investors) part by 330 times. HUDCO made a strong debut with the stock getting listed on 19 May on BSE at Rs 73.45, 22.41% above its issue price. Post-listing, the stock has been commanding a robust market capitalization

Q. What are the CSR initiatives undertaken by HUDCO for the welfare of the people?

A. In the past year, the emphasis of our CSR activities was especially on proposals of sanitation, public toilets, water supply under the “Swachh Bharat Mission” and training activities under the “Skill India Mission”. I would like to make a special mention of some of the CSR projects, which have made a great difference to the lives of the community. We have supported the Government of Nagaland in setting up a short-stay home in Kohima for AIDS victims. In Chennai, we have funded night shelters attached to hospitals, which are of great use to patients and their relatives.

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