Citizens' Issues
A Real-estate Niche

The senior living sector in India is at a crossroad. With the recent relaxation of FDI restrictions on investments in the sector and a population of seniors… there clearly exists an untapped opportunity for investment and development in this sector

Private equity players, especially those with NRI connections, are displaying newfound interest in the ‘senior living’ sector. There is a sudden flurry of activity ever since Jyotiraditya Scindia, India’s minister of state for commerce and industry, announced on 30 November 2011 that the conditionalties on 100% FDI (foreign direct investment) will not apply to FDI in ‘old age homes’ and investment by NRIs, in a written reply to a Rajya Sabha question.

On 7th December, there was a presentation by a US legal firm Dechert LLP, and on 12th came a 32-page research report from property firm Jones Lang LaSalle India (JLLI) titled “Senior Living Sector in India”. The former focused on structuring the business of senior living and its financing options while the latter concentrated on the customer segments, their needs, market demand, formats and typologies and key best practices that promoters of such real-estate projects need to adopt.

Although middle-class senior citizens are not yet a politically heavyweight lobby in India, changes in our demographic profile, noted by the 2011 Census, are forcing the government to recognise the emergent needs. Mr Scindia is reported to have said that “with growing urbanisation, there is an increasing demand for old-age homes to cater to the needs of senior citizens. The physical infrastructure in this area also is short of the requirements. Hence, it has also been decided to exempt old-age homes also from the general conditionalities applicable to the construction development sector.”

As per census projections, increasing longevity has resulted in elders (seniors above the age of 60 years) increasing to about 76 million in 2011. Estimates indicate that as a percentage of the country’s total population, they would jump from 7.4% in 2001 to 12.4% in 2026 and touch 19.7% in 2050; their numbers will grow to 173 million by 2025, further increasing to about 240 million by 2050.

Companies are recognising that seniors (especially urban) are a customer segment whose needs and wants are different from seniors in earlier times. Today, there is a larger percentage of educated seniors than ever before; a significant section is not necessarily dependent on children. A Moneylife survey on retirement planning, quoted in our cover story “Should You Go for Pension Plans” in the issue dated 15 December, 2011, shows that out of 634 senior citizens, only 5% depend on children’s support. They are financially stable, well-travelled, socially connected, and have well developed thoughts about how to live post-retirement. Additionally, urbanisation, nuclear and ‘taller families’ (where two generations or more may be dependent on a single child), have created a huge, as yet unsatiated and unsegmented, demand for senior living residences. Moneylife, in a first, had done a Cover Story “Retirement Havens” for issue dated 15 July 2010. You can read it at The scenario has changed rapidly since then.

Susan Hendrickson, partner at the law firm of Dechert LLP, presented a history of senior living in the US. She said that what started as interventions of religious groups and charities in early- to mid-20th century, to cater to housing and care for seniors has metamorphosed into a business. Many such ventures are now run by for-profit companies while some still operate as not-for-profit. She said that the senior care/senior housing sector is a $260 billion industry in the US, and growing. In 2008, there were 28,000 assisted living facilities caring for more than one million seniors.

Ms Hendrickson described five kinds of senior living models in the US, recounting them as they evolved:
1.    Nursing homes – where people move in, often, not out of choice but because of their healthcare needs.
2.    Adult day-care centres – where people spend the day while their children are at work; these cater for the emotional and socialising needs of seniors.
3.    Assisted living communities (ALCs) – there has been an explosive growth in this segment—they are individual residences with shared common spaces such as dining and recreation areas.
4.    Independent living communities (ILCs ) – these are the ‘resort’ type residential spaces where all the household management facilities and comforts are provided for – these cater for high-end customers and have a high quotient of lifestyle.
5.    Alzheimer’s and dementia care centres – these are for specialised healthcare.

ALCs and ILCs offer all the benefits of being in your own home, without the worry of maintenance, chores and even cooking. They offer lifestyle choices, including senior-friendly floor plans, a variety of meal plans and menus and service options to meet residents’ wellness needs. ILCs have greater possibility of ‘striking roots’ and growing old in the community; so they may have designated areas with possibilities for medical care or greater assisted living – these focus more on community activities and recreation.

Ms Hendrickson also pointed out that government funding is available for only for nursing centres. In the vast majority of ALCs, it is a private pay market with some small research/demonstration projects funded by government payment programmes, including Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income programmes. She said that there have been some experiments, of late, in affordable ALCs where people can pay for these from their social security entitlements.

Seniors’ housing projects are not yet rated like hotels in the US; they go by ‘market perception’; hence, companies spend a lot of effort on branding and marketing. Many companies have also gone for franchisee arrangements—but she explained that the corporate structure of the ventures vary—there are property companies (which she called prop/cos) that own the property, and operating companies (op/cos) that manage them and there would be various services companies that would be contracting their services to the op/cos, like employee leasing companies or even caregiver or nursing companies.

Almost all of senior living projects are on rental model—not ownership—but there have been cases where, if the period of occupancy is brief, a part of the residual value is passed on to successors—and those calculations are based on actuarial calculations. Such facilities are often referred to as ‘Continuing Care Retirement Communities’. She said that efficiencies of scale are maximised often at a facility of about 100 apartments and they are not too far away from residential parts of cities as people are reluctant to move away from familiar surroundings. Sunrise Senior Living is one of the largest branded companies in this space. According to her, they were among the founders of assisted living model and have diversified into specialty segments of the seniors market. Some Sunrise Independent Living communities also offer a home purchase option.

In the US, caregiver agencies are licensed by government agencies with annual reviews; the certification of caregivers, too, is reviewed periodically. But these are not segmented especially for senior citizens—they are specialised more according to the type of service required. The contractual arrangements often include a base rate + a-la-carte menu of services that are paid for on an ‘as needed/as used’ basis.

The JLLI report noted that in India, the negative perceptions and stigma associated with ‘old-age homes’ had prevented the senior living sector from developing, until recently. It stated that “The senior living sector in India is at a crossroad. With the recent relaxation of FDI restrictions on investments in the sector and a population of seniors… there clearly exists an untapped opportunity for investment and development in this sector. Unlike western countries where the senior living industry has gained maturity, India provides an opportunity to developers, service providers, healthcare players and operators to create solutions specific to India while leveraging learning from across the world.”

Urbanisation and employment mobility has changed the way middle- and upper-middle-class Indian families manage the generational relationships. A large segment of seniors today are living alone; many of them are well-to-do and prefer to move to resort-type residences where they can have all the comforts of urban social life without the responsibility of managing household chores. For this segment, the availability of healthcare and assisted living facilities at some future date is important; but the need is for hassle-free, comfortable lifestyle.

As the JLLI report shows, for the 12.8 million households representing senior citizens, demand for formal senior living facilities from across varying income sections stood at 312,000 units.

The report urged real-estate developers to understand and acknowledge the unique needs of the elderly while catering to the sector—these have to be addressed not only through the architectural designs and housing materials used, but also in the provision of services. The report provides a break-up of types of occupants of senior living spaces and then goes on to recommend the facilities they would require.

 Source: Jones Lang LaSalle Education, Healthcare and Senior Living

The report examined the various models that developers could adopt—the complete sale model (where the title is transferred and since the underlying product is residential real estate, it is likely to find higher acceptability in the market due to freehold ownership of units by buyers); lease deposit model (where a percentage of the capital value is taken upfront and the rest is paid in the form of monthly rentals over the period of stay); pure rental model (requires no upfront deposit paid while resident period monthly rentals over the period of stay with a nominal security deposit). Read more about it at ‘Realty sector must focus on the needs of the elderly’

Responses received by Dechert at their presentations in Mumbai and Delhi indicate that there is a higher interest in the ownership model/complete sale model in India—not only from seniors but from property developers as well. Senior living projects may become more marketable if reverse mortgage is made applicable to such properties too.




Nasreen Rustomfram

6 years ago

Nita's article is an eyeopener with regard to the possibilities for senior living.It might be fruitful to pursue it with some philanthrophic builders (if such a category exists) in India to find out their interest in such venture. Hoeever, the focus of the article is on elders with disposal incomes. Many seniors in the evening of ther life are not cash rich and need living space as the space for them in the homes of their children is insufficient.They live without physical privacy in drawing rooms.

Is Metro Rail not the answer for India’s Urban Transportation? Part II

India has no option but to give priority to walking, cycling and BRT. This is true for a million plus city as well as the metro and mega cities.

There has been sufficient and mixed response to this article that I felt I should respond to as part II of the article…

Firstly, two responses were kind of objection to the map of India I had used to show the thirteen Urban Agglomerates (UAs) with population greater than 2 million or 20 lakhs. The fact is that there was no clean map readily available that I could use and superimpose the location of these UAs.  However, the map did show the boundary of India correctly without any truncation. While this base map was searched out in a hurry, subsequent to these two reactions, a little more search got me an absolutely clean outline map of India, which is what you see now on line with these UAs.

Having set that aside, I will begin by responding to the comments which have been short and pointed. Thereafter, perhaps a comprehensive response would be appropriate for the rest of 17 comments.

No. It is a palliative like the so called ‘flyovers’. The real answer is decongestion by rapid urbanisation of the rural hinterland.

The rate at which the second and third tier cities are growing, and their numbers are not small, India’s million plus cities, which are presently 46, is likely to touch 56 by the 2021 census. The 13 current two million plus cities are likely to cross 18 by 2021. The rate of growth of metros and mega cities are far slower, though in volume, due to their base size, matches with the cumulative volumes of these smaller cities. Mobility problems will hit these smaller cities just as the smaller of the metros are afflicted with it unless the right kind of medicine is provided. In principle if priority is given to walking, cycling and the BRT, our non-metros and non-mega cities will become more livable than otherwise.

Haven't there been any studies done in the last five to seven years to address/explore this problem/feasible solutions?

The National Urban Transport Policy has evolved only after looking at various studies carried out over the years and in a nutshell, says that walking, cycling and BRT be given priority.

It should have been in Bombay 50 years ago. Funds for Bombay's Metro were diverted to Calcutta by the dictatorship during the Emergency to curry favour of the Communist regime there.

I think India’s economic boom has resulted in investments of all forms coming India’s way. At that point in time, Kolkata (Calcutta) was the most populous city in India and with limited funds available then, it was natural that it made political sense to put the Kolkata Metro before Mumbai Metro, which already had an efficient suburban railway system, although overstretched.

Though the answer to the above question is that metro, mono are not the answers, the bigger question is ‘are the decision makers listening?’

There seems to be international pressures by way of soft loans, just as banks give soft loans to potential motorcar buyers. With this kind of loan and tax-free environment for the Delhi Metro, impressive ingress has been made in the minds of certain sections of Delhites and more so the domestic tourists, through whom the cities having poor public transport get their aspirations raised. Thereafter, the ‘big ticket’ projects attract all the groups with business interests and sadly, after LPG (Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation), attitudes of the government has shifted towards business ‘development’ rather than looking at optimum balance between welfare of people and financial sustenance.

Everyone seems to know what the answer is not. No one seems to have a clearly feasible solution. If there isn’t a clear answer to the situation available, what would you want the decision makers to listen to? To the problem? They have probably heard the problem many times over. The first step here is to persuade the decision makers to commission a study to find out a LONG-TERM feasible solution and then there would be a basis to discuss implementation of the solution!

The problem is that our experts have learnt traffic and transportation engineering from most affluent and motorized country, not that everything that country has worked out is wrong. However, the third world countries of Latin America have experienced problems accentuating due to following this idol country and have on their own worked out solutions matching their economic state and culture. Their urban area densities compare well with those of our cities, but economic states better than ours. They have adopted mobility as objective and not cars, and have realized that by investing in BRTS, they get more to spend on other socially relevant matters such as housing, education, public places for economically weaker sections. They have also found that these measures have helped even the affluent. When our decision makers see opportunities for rapid personal growth, or see purely the high gross domestic product (GDP) synonymous with growth, the decisions are bound to be skewed.

Looks like we are always fighting loosing battle.... Peddar Road for example is just not fit for a flyover of any kind... .because anything that we create above will take almost same space below. It may appear to have solved the problem for few people for some time and create problems for large number of people for a longer period. Mumbai needs metro below and bus lanes on the grade!!!!!!!!!

It is a pity that we have to stretch situation to the limit and then take decision after further limiting options available, spending capital wastefully supposedly for the benefit of few but not even benefiting them in reality. With population density of Mumbai being what it is, Metro surely is not going to improve matters considering the costs and implementation time involved. Now they are thinking of having an underground metro to run from Colaba to Seepz via Chhattrapati Shivaji International Airport. If the recently commissioned (little less than a year) Delhi Airport Metro Express is anything to go by, it would take all sorts of innovative measures only to increase the ridership on this kind of big ticket projects. The six-coach metro express was running with barely 15 people on board when I travelled by it about a month ago.

Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) carried out Comprehensive Traffic and Transport Study from 2005 and published the CTTS report in 2008 or simply the CTS-2008. They also prepared a business plan for Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) based on this and other studies. In fact a World Bank initiated short study in 2005 also indicated similar figures and it was felt that the sample size may have been too small or method erroneous. The CTS-2008 corroborated the WB study. Why it is so? Transportation and housing go hand in hand along with affordability of housing as well as transport. Since this has not been so, mushrooming of slums was natural. Growth of slums in Bengaluru is phenomenal—from 8% in the 2001 census to about 30% in 2011. This could be attributed to rapid growth of Bengaluru with young professional couples with high incomes needing and availing domestic services and all other services needing employing at income levels not commensurate with costs of housing closer to place of work and transport not coping up with the demand.

On the suggestion that Rs3,25,000 crore could be used to build entirely new townships, we need not and should not do that as we already have 35 UAs with population more than 10 lakh and many more getting into that category in near future. I will repeat the opening sentence of the original article—“Rapid urbanization in India means people with low levels of civic amenities they were accustomed to in rural settings have to cope up with overloaded higher level civic amenities in urban settings. Although there are several kinds of civic amenities and services that are there which in fact provide better quality of life in rural settings from fulfilment of basic necessities, the aspirations of human intellect and avenues to reach them is available in urban setting. Urban setting also ensures certainty of livelihood for which people move over to urban areas from rural settings”. Lavasa and Magarpatta are aberrations, small in size and essentially for the affluent. One does not hear of Ambey Valley nowadays, do we? Cities grow organically and urban planning must only facilitate equitable development. Bengaluru was a large town of keres i.e. tanks or large ponds spread all over. It replenished ground water all round the year. With the industrialization policy adopted in 1960s and reclamation of most tanks, water had to be pumped up about 700 meters from Cauvery to meet the requirement. Water supply becomes major crisis due to power shortages. To overcome this, concrete tanks have had to be constructed. Not all engineering wise feasible decisions are wise from sustainability point of view.

There is a widespread feeling that BRT is feasible only on roads that are wide, such as in Delhi. A footpath devoid of any obstruction needs to be 1.5 m wide. Add to this 1 m for intermittent obstruction from utility boxes and trees and street furniture. Provide 2 m for Non Motorised Vehicles (NMVs), which could locally ‘encroach’ into the ‘obstruction’ space of footpaths marginally to permit passing two NMVs. This takes away 4.5 m from half Right of Way (ROW), i.e. 9m from full ROW. Now consider four lanes for motorized vehicles (MVs), with substandard width of 3 m each. Narrow lanes prevent squeezing in to overtake and thus avoiding bottlenecking. It also keeps speeds in check and keeps driver’s attention on the road, thus reducing accidents and more so with fatality. This totals 21 m. Now if we were to provide up and down lanes of 3.5 m width for bus lanes, we take up 28 m of ROW. Now the question of bus stops comes up. A 4 m wide bus stop common for both direction buses could be provided by taking the 1m of the ‘footpath space meant for intermittent obstructions and 0.5 m each from the general MV lanes adjoining the bus lanes and reducing bus lane width to 3 m at bus stops would mean ROW remains 28 m. There should be no compromise on the footpath and NMV lanes even if ROW is small. Buses do not have to ply on every road or they also do not have to ply in both directions if there is some parallel road nearby where one could have an up route and the other could have down route. It is not necessary that there should be four lanes for MVs; two lanes for MVs with emergency time encroaching possibility into BRT lane could be acceptable. Some places, only BRT lanes and footpaths/NMV lanes may suffice. Make the bus system so efficient and comfortable that people find owning a car a redundant expenditure. I would say that, keeping the footpath and NMV Lanes concept in view all the time, a road with ROW of 9 m plus 7 m for buses plus 2 m for bus stop i.e. 18 m (60 ft) road is sufficient to form a network of BRTS. Even a 9 m ROW road could if necessary be used as a BRT singular directional route. The system has to be meticulously designed and yes, there is no doubt that routes for MV travel will also have to be worked out, but priority has to be for walking, cycling and BRT. Besides the mobility aspect, BRTS brings in quick movement of emergency services such as ambulances and fire tenders.

All the infrastructure projects are being taken up with the view of easing the MVs’ congestion, not recognizing that by doing that it encourages more MVs to come on the road, more people move out of public transport use due to its inadequacy leading to continuance of road congestion despite additional infrastructure added to cater to the new demand. Infrastructure built with the intent to increase the mobility would actually ease everyone’s mobility as well as congestion problems. Therefore central to the solution has to be the pedestrian, user of NMVs and also user of public transport. When a city does not have enough space on roads and enough money to fund projects that are equitable to improve quality of life for all, it has little option to deviate from giving priority to walking, cycling and BRT infrastructure.

I assume these would provide explanations to the viewpoints expressed by most. I do find some needing a separate answer as they have written plenty about Delhi Metro. Delhi Metro requires a separate article. I shall leave that for some future date. However those provoked to respond to this as well as on Delhi Metro—in support and against, may please do so. Issues need to be discussed. This article was essentially to place problems before us as a nation with growing number of cities with populations more than a million. As a parting argument, a personal motor car emits four times equivalent CO2 per passenger kilometre as against what a bus does and the Metro does twice that of a bus. Less personal vehicles on road would mean less of CO2 footprint and air and noise pollution. As the article stated, one can get a network of four times the network of a metro by providing BRTS at one-fifth the cost  of that metro i.e. one can get one kilometre of BRTS implemented at one-twentieth the cost of one kilometre of metro rail. And implementation time, as little as one-fifth that the metro will take.

(Sudhir Badami is a civil engineer and transportation analyst. He is on Government of Maharashtra’s Steering Committee on BRTS for Mumbai and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s Technical Advisory Committee on BRTS for Mumbai. He is also member of Research & MIS Committee of Unified Mumbai Metropolitan Transport Authority. He was member of Bombay High Court appointed erstwhile Road Monitoring Committee (2006-07). While he has been an active campaigner against Noise for more than a decade, he is a strong believer in functioning democracy. He can be contacted on email at [email protected])




Anoop Jha

6 years ago

There are some qualitative issues also associated with urban public transport like metro or local train . Though it provides a faster way to commute, it comes at a cost of something which cannot be compensated with saved time or money i.e. “Social Space”, but most people often seem to ignore the fact or somehow they have accepted to pay this cost. It appears that most of the public transport in any city caters to the population much higher than their design capacity, at least higher than the footfall or ridership taken into consideration while designing the system

More details

Anoop Jha
Urban Planner

Raju Sajwan

6 years ago

I am Raju Sajwan Principal Correspondent in Hindustan daily newspaper (HT group). I am covering Transportation and Infrastructure in delhi, I read your story 'Is Metro Rail not the answer for India’s Urban Transportation? Part II'. Its good story and educate me. I want others article, please send me through mail, if possible


Sudhir Badami

In Reply to Raju Sajwan 6 years ago

You may access my articles published on Moneylife Web Magazine at

For the Part I of the article that you just read, visit the web page

surajit som

6 years ago

first of all the author did not mention if he uses BRT or not. he should have . secondly the taste of pudding is in eating. how effective is BRT where it has been implemented? it should be quantified. but certainly it has not been very effective in delhi but why? resources should be used judicously. fair enough. but if it is the only criterion , air travel should be banned completely !!! even better ,bullock cart should be the sole mode of transport !!!

at the end of the day, people need to travel to go to work. if in delhi ,two million peolple use metro daily , should they be sent to gulag ? are these people all fool ? if BRT was such a marvellous formula ,why it was not implemented before metro? is it working efficiently in any of our megacities ? now that people in delhi and NCR are happy with metro ,the carrot of BRT is being dangled before them.

BRT ,metro,bus whatever . give people a decent transportation system. stop lecturing. and dont curse metro because people are happy with it and they dont have to travel like cattle.


Sudhie Badami

In Reply to surajit som 6 years ago

Basic and essential facilities must be available and accessible to all, all across economic strata. Transportation is one such facility.

Sudhir Badami

6 years ago

While the article said that there were 13 UAs in India with population more than 20 lakhs and 35 with population more than 10 lakhs, the figuresc were from the Census Data. for 2001. For the 2011 Census, the corresponding figures are 18 and 47 respectively. The same are estimated to grow to 22 and 60 in 2021.

Therefore the nation has to judiciously spend its resources, keeping in mind the growing fuel shortages reflected by the rising crude prices, emissions whether in these cities or power plants.

Development must be sustainable, improving quality of life of all, rather than mere economic betterment through higher GDP figures

Economy in a tailspin: IIP in negative zone; Re at all-time low

With a 5.1% de-growth in industrial production in October and rupee hit its all-time low of 52.84, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said in Rajya Sabha that it would be a challenge to maintain the fiscal deficit at 4.6% of the GDP projected earlier

New Delhi: In a double whammy, negative industrial output and sliding rupee against the US dollar have added to the woes of already slowing Indian economy and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said it would be a challenge to maintain the fiscal deficit at 4.6% of the gross domestic product (GDP), reports PTI.

The industrial production registered a negative growth of 5.1% in October, pushing stock markets into a tailspin with 30-share BSE Sensex shedding over 340 points. The fall Sensex eroded nearly Rs3 lakh crore of investor wealth.

The rupee hit its all-time low of 52.84 against the dollar as demand for the US currency soared amid signs of foreign institutional investors (FIIs) pulling out money in the wake of negative growth in industrial output.

The falling rupee will make imports costlier, which in turn would affect the industrial production. However, exporters may stand to gain with decline in rupee value.

Amid these concerns, Mr Mukherjee said in Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Indian Parliament) that it would be a challenge to maintain the fiscal deficit at 4.6% of the GDP projected earlier.

“Around Rs 53,000 crore of (additional) borrowings we had to resort to manage the cash flow, but nonetheless it will have a stress and it will have its effect in the course of the year if the corrective steps are not taken,” he said in the House while introducing the Appropriation Bill.

In view of the negative factory output and moderation in inflation, especially food prices, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may lower key policy rates—which it has increased for 13 times since March 2010—in the monetary policy review on 16th December, feel experts.

Describing the IIP numbers as disappointing, chairman of Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council C Rangarajan, said, “Somewhat lower growth in industrial production was expected, but not a negative growth.” 

The government has already lowered the growth projection for 2011-12 to 7.25%-7.75%, down from 8.5% in the previous fiscal.

“We certainly need to look at all our actions in order to provide situation in which the industrial growth rate is not only in the positive but it is respectably high,” Mr Rangarajan said.

With regard to the monetary policy, Mr Rangarajan said, the RBI will have to look at what is happening to the inflationary trend. “If the inflation trend indicates a definite decline, then perhaps (reversal) of policy actions can be thought of,” he added.

In the backdrop of the latest numbers, the government will hold consultations on 19th December with industry leaders.

Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma will hold government-industry consultation on the issue.

As per Monday’s data, while the mining sector output declined by 7.2% in October, the decline was 6% in case of manufacturing sector, which accounts for over 75% weight in the index.

Mining and manufacturing grew 6.1% and 12.3% respectively during the corresponding period a year ago.

As per the data, industrial output growth moderated to 3.5% in the April-October period this fiscal, as against 8.7% in the same period last year.

Production of capital goods fell sharply by 25.5% in October. The segment had grown by 21.1% in the corresponding month of 2010.

“The 5.1% de-growth in industrial production in October 2011 was considerably inferior as compared to the consensus estimates...Over the recent months, investment and consumption growth have displayed signs of a slowdown,” ICRA economist Aditi Nayar said.

Industry has also asked for a relaxation of the interest rates. CII termed the IIP numbers as “serious disappointment to industry”.

“If allowed to continue, this (de-growth) would have serious consequences on employment and livelihoods,” CII director general Chandrajit Banejree said., adding that RBI should begin the roll-back of interest rates.


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