Gone are the days when the elderly dreaded the idea of being cast away in an old-age home, forgotten and neglected by their own children. With the concept of ‘Senior Living Community’ taking ground, the elders are happily embracing an independent lifestyle in a vibrant community of like-minded senior citizens.
Already popular across the world, this concept is gradually making inroads in India. Within India too, the state of Rajasthan has emerged as one of the most viable living destinations for senior citizens. Ashiana Utsav, the pioneers of the concept of retirement housing in India launched Utsav Bhiwadi in 2004. The facility is now a full-fledged retirement community with about 400 senior citizens under its umbrella. Ashiana Utsav has a similar township running at Jaipur.
What is of interest however is why Rajasthan is emerging as the ideal choice for post retirement living. Mr. Yashraj Khandelwal, a resident at Utsav Jaipur says, “I love the life here. There is so much to do all the time. The best thing is that Jaipur is such a safe and hassle free place to live. Clean air, less traffic and to top it all, so many historic places worth seeing nearby “. All the ancient temples of the pink city including the renowned Birla Mandir are barely 20 minutes away from the Ashiana Utsav campus.
There are a host of factors that make Rajasthan a good bet for senior citizens’ housing – relatively better law and order, good investment climate, proximity to Delhi, cheap real estate, prevalence of tourist attractions, etc. There is no property tax levied on the property owners in Rajasthan and the stamp duty levied on property documents is also very low. A new Single Window Clearance policy was enacted in 2010 by the government, ensuring time bound granting of clearances to investors in the state. The 2009 World Bank’s Doing Business Survey of India also ranked Jaipur third in India in terms of ease and speed of starting a business. Ankur Gupta, Joint Managing Director, Ashiana says, “The number of positive initiatives taken by the government of Rajasthan to boost industry have created a favourable scenario for both investors and buyers. Rajasthan also has a well laid tourism infrastructure and quite an efficient police system. The state police even have a facebook page! All these factors make the state a top notch living choice among senior citizens”.
At the moment, Ashiana single handedly dominates the retirement housing segment in Rajasthan. Infact, they were the first real estate company to fully venture into housing in Bhiwadi. “Ashiana ventured into Bhiwadi in 1992. Started the first project – Ashiana Greens with 130 units and 5 shops. Ashiana at that time was the first organized developer in Bhiwadi. After that, we came up with several projects like Ashiana Bageecha, Ashiana Gulmohar, Ashiana Gardens and Ashiana Rangoli over the years”, explains Ankur.
Bhiwadi is strategically located just a 30 minute drive from Gurgaon located off NH8 (Delhi-Jaipur highway). Several attractions like the Neemrana Fort Palace, the Kasseroli Fort of Alwar, Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary, Manesar Heritage Village Resort, etc are very close to Bhiwadi. Ashiana Bhiwadi is housed with a number of leisure options for the residents – badminton courts, swimming pools, health club, park, walking tracks, cards room, library, restaurants, etc. “Wide open spaces, landscaped greens and state-of-the-art maintenance is the hallmark of Ashiana!”, says Mr. R.K. Ohlyan. Resident, Utsav, Bhiwadi.
Infact, the response to Utsav Bhiwadi has been so overwhelming that the company is considering setting up another Utsav campus in Bhiwadi. “We are toying with the idea of setting up one more Utsav in Bhiwadi. The idea is still at a nascent stage though. The modalities need to be worked out”, elaborates Ankur.
In 2010, the State Government enacted the Rajasthan Investment Promotion Scheme (RIPS 2010) which clearly states all incentives to be granted to investors. The cities of Rajasthan offer a unique blend of traditional culture and modern-day comfort. Perhaps that’s why it’s emerging as the best residential choice for elders who want to hold onto the security of tradition but wish to experience a modern lifestyle at the same time.