The Tatas seem to have a bag full of ideas for low-cost products. After the Rs1 lakh car launched in March, the Tata group this week announced a plan to build homes for under Rs4 lakh in Boisar, near Mumbai. That’s another fine idea from one of India’s foremost business houses, but one that needs to be accompanied by better government action on infrastructure.
A valid criticism of the Nano car, as we noted in a March editorial, is that it will contribute to traffic bottlenecks. A valid concern that arises with these Nano homes is that of transport. Those who buy Tata’s homes in Boisar will presumably commute to south Mumbai to work; but that’s a distance of 100km. Commuters can do this either on trains— overcrowded thanks to their low supply—or congested, even unfinished, roads.
While India’s private sector dreams about new ideas every day, the government is happy keeping infrastructure projects on the back-burner. This disparity in thinking is sure to start dissuading private investment soon.