In terms of accommodation, I think that no demographic segment of Indian population has a shorter view (in terms of time horizon) than Single working women who are staying away from their families. Most of them are fresh out of under-graduate colleges and are uncertain if they want to pursue higher education (MBA) or not, how long they would be working, which city would they be relocating after marriage, would their parents/spouse allow them to continue to work or not. This coupled with the fact that their impending marriage is going to be very costly translates in a remarkable reluctance in owning assets or even furniture and improving the living conditions.
A lot of shady landlords recognize that and exploit the plight of these women. They would rent a 3-4 BHK room; put 4 bunker beds into each of the bedrooms and living room. They would convert the house into a chaul (cramped Mumbai style housing with no privacy or living space) and charge 3,500/- to 4,500/- rent from each of the girls. This translates into 50,000/–70,000/- rent collected from a 3bhk house (about 3 times more than what is the rent for a similar furnished apartment)
Government of India provides very lucrative deals for anybody constructing working women’s hostel. They would be providing 50% of the cost of the land and 75% of the cost of construction for free.
Even the permissible maximum rents that can be charged are quite reasonable.
1. rent for single room (without bath or kitchen) = 2,400/-
2. double sharing basis = 1,600/-
3. Dormitory: 1,200/-
However the hostel is allowed to charge extra for electricity, water, furniture, food and other services provided. Considering that about 60% of the cost are borne by the government and the fact that lower rent translate into higher occupancy, any NGO/organization can make a decent return on their investment. Details of this program can be found here and the list of hostels already operational.
What is more surprising is that the restrictions that government has imposed are also quite liberal and understandable:
1. The hostel needs a resident warden and a security guard.
2. The hostel would be open to all working women and cannot discriminate amongst potential applicants on the basis of color, creed, language, caste etc.
3. No women under any circumstance can be allowed to stay for more than 5 years.
4. At least 30% of the hostel at any given point of time needs to be occupied by women (single or married (with or without kids)) earning less than 16,000/- per month. Out here we are talking about take home salary (or salary declared in Income tax returns) so 16,000/- per month of salary (without bonus/commissions) would translate into about 2.5L CTC. This is actually a reasonably high remuneration for a fresh college graduate.
I wonder why in spite of all the lucrative offers, so many NGOs and organizations have availed this scheme.