Round Table Discussion on “India-China Cooperation in Housing Sector” – December 23, 2017


ICEC Council has been promoting the initiatives of Indian Govt. (Housing for All, Make in India, Smart Cities) in China for a long time and have received overwhelming response. There has been a great interest among Chinese companies to be part of these initiatives especially in the urban development sector. China shares the same context in terms of challenges faced in the process of urban development and in order to meet those challenges, China has successfully implemented the concept of affordable housing and develop the requisite infrastructure.

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In this context, ICEC hosted a high level delegation from Housing & Urban-Rural Construction Bureau of Sichuan Province, led by their Director General, Mr. He Jian. Their main objective was to learn more about the business and investment opportunities in the housing sector and other urban development initiatives. They are also looking for joint venture opportunities with Indian companies.

In this regard, ICEC organized a roundtable discussion on “India-China Cooperation in Housing Sector” on 23rd December 2017 at India International Centre.

The Indian delegates included Mr. Devashish Dhar, Policy Specialist on Housing and Urban Development, NITI Ayog; Mr. Rajesh Shukla, Manager (Architecture), Hindustan Prefab Limited (A Government of India Enterprise); Mr. Umar Siddiqui, Managing Director, Global Pact International Holdings and few construction companies from Delhi-NCR region.

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Mr. Mohammed Saqib, Secretary General of ICEC in his welcome address, stated that there is a lot of scope in the Housing Sector of India for foreign investment and technology. He stressed that the government has taken a step towards providing housing for the people under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana’ and aims to provide housing for at least 19 million citizens by the year 2022. With such an ambitious goal, there was an urgent requirement for collaboration between India and China.

Mr. He Jian expressed that his provincial Housing and Urban-Rural Construction Bureau have lot of experience in developing housing projects, planning and architecture in city as well as rural places of the province. They have also undertaken several projects that focused on the urbanization of several towns and cities of Sichuan. He further explained that his bureau had experience in tackling challenges that the bureau faced in terms of providing good lifestyle that included hospitals, schools, recreational parks and safety for the people who migrated to the city from the rural areas in hopes of finding a better livelihood. He added that his bureau would be glad to share this knowledge with the Indian counterparts to help achieve the goal of ‘housing for all’.

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Mr. Devashish Dhar, elaborated on the ‘Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna’ undertaken by the government of India and its aim of providing affordable housing for the migrating rural population settled in the cities. He further explained that there was a need for building affordable housing for people depending on the income bracket of the people. With such a huge goal in front of the government, there was scope for cooperation in pre-fab and pre-cast technology, investment in startups, putting up manufacturing bases in India etc. He repeated that with cooperation from China, India could achieve its goals much faster and provide it back with good returns as well. He also proposed that along with technological cooperation between both the countries, the bureau could also provide assistance in form of skill training to the municipalities in India.

Mr. Shukla from Hindustan Prefab Limited in his address, gave a brief introduction of Hindustan Prefab Ltd. It was established in 1948 as a part of the government body, and excelled in providing project management consultancy, buildings hospitals, bridges, milk booths, police stations, education institutions etc. Currently, its biggest challenge lies in providing a better lifestyle to the people in terms of housing. They further demonstrated that they had the latest technology such as pre-fab and pre-cast technology to build houses in just about three to seven days, and also invited the delegates to visit their ‘Housing Technology Park’ to get a better understanding of the technology they used.

Mr. Umar Siddiqui, Managing Director of Global Pact International Holdings Ltd., continued with the presentation and explained that his company had experience in projects that undertook slum re-development and slum-relocation in Mumbai. He hoped to partner with Chinese industries and invited them to set up manufacturing plants in India with focus on low-cost production wherein they were willing to provide them with land to make it easier and quicker for the manufacturing to start.

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The discussions concluded with a questions-answer session, in which delegates from both sides shared the differences in government policies and how this impacted the development projects. The Chinese delegates stated that they had an interest in further developing the pre-fab technology partnership with India. The representatives of Hindustan Prefab Limited then took the delegates for a tour to their ‘Housing Technology Park’ to give them a better understanding about the kind of technology that they used. This included using technology such as pre-engineered buildings using steel structures, precast concrete technology, polypropylene honeycomb, Light Gauge Steel (LGS), monolithic concrete with aluminum framework etc.

The meeting ended with the delegates proposing the Indian companies to visit Sichuan to understand their building projects and the policies undertaken by the government in the housing and urban-rural development sector. He also added that China also has a lot to learn from India like incorporating cultural and traditional aspect in urban development.