We have not seen any state across India interfering into every different sector and taking it over. But, Andhra Pradesh stands out in this case. The state government led by Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy not just interferes and demands its share in every kind of small or big business, but also goes out of its way to promote this kind of interference in every sector.
Take the recent “Jagananna Smart Township,” idea for example. To be clear, this is a real estate project being run and advertised by the government where the government is directly deciding the plot rates at its own fancy and fixing it at a price profitable to the state. While this seems like a “smart” move for the current government, many citizens state that the lands are bought by YSRCP leaders who may snatch it whenever they want to, through blackmail and extortion.
However, newspaper ads point to a transparent process in registration but many realtors are now upset with the Jagan-led government for unnecessary interference into the sector. “The government has already ruined the renewable energy industry; even the film industry and the liquor and meat & aqua industry. Now, it is behind real estate and hitting our livelihoods,” said a dejected realtor.
Also, a recent GO stated that every real estate project needs to allocate a certain share of land for the poor, either in the same project or in the same mandal. While many realtors have opposed this move, the government is hell-bent on this idea. “Neither are they letting us survive nor letting us do our business. This is too much interference in every sector which is not needed,” said the realtor.
‘Money could be diverted’
Meanwhile, political analysts questioned that: On one hand, the Chief Minister openly announces that he doesn’t have the money to bring investments into the state and on the other, he comes up with these township ideas. “The government is also claiming that the plots are being sold at cheaper rates than market price but the people are saying that the price quoted by the officials is double the market price. Buyers are not able to understand whose words should be believed.”
Citizens themselves are discreetly stating that money paid by them towards the plots would get diverted to other schemes and those buying the plots will end up in a similar situation. Nobody would care to lay the pipelines or roads in the townships once the funds are diverted for the Jagan government’s schemes.
Going by what is currently happening with the real estate sector in Andhra Pradesh, it is best that the government does not get involved in becoming a real estate mediator for its citizens and instead, focus on delivering efficient governance and citizen services to its people.
If the government really wants to handle real estate and ensure that every citizen has a house in the state, then it needs to learn more from a country like Singapore which makes its “citizen housing scheme” a transparent one, putting the onus of payments on the citizens for owning the property that the government builds for them.