Providing a shelter where a household can not only live, but also carry out economic activities is what is required for a majority of the people in Kochi. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) and multi-sectoral Urban Community Development (UCD) programmes have responded to this concept. Sadly, this had been the missing link in the cooperative housing movement in the state. The cooperative sector by itself may be able to do little. It needs to be buttressed by a well-developed and efficient housing finance system.
NGO’s have to be brought into the cooperative housing sector in a big way to speed up the real estate developments. When considering the high cost of real estate Kochi
and its suburbs will require massive investments, which no government in Kerala can ever afford to do.
The cooperative package can do little if it remains as a mere ‘physical package’. It needs transmutation into a multi-faceted all-encompassing ‘developmental package’ from a mere ‘housing package’. Initiating active and conscious participation, a deliberate shift in emphasis from controlling to enabling, from delivering finished products to initiating people’s action is what we need urgently.
In India’s welfare democracy, the states as well as the people need to jointly participate in meeting the societal needs. From the international perspective, neither the condominium approach nor the commune approach, if pursued alone, could do any good. In India, the state continues to be a paternalistic provider, which is unable to shoulder the great burden, and the free market continues to operate with capitalistic motives, in an unabated manner. The cooperative sector, if properly organized and operated could activate and bear the fruits of a social-market economy.