Two stories this week stand out as examples of how entrepreneurs in India are doing what the government and the private sector have largely failed to do.

A woman carrying a child walks past a construction site on the outskirts of Hyderabad February 26, 2010. REUTERS/Krishnendu Halder/FilesOne is on housing, the other on healthcare, hot-button topics in India, which is struggling to house and heal its 1.1 billion population even as it gallops toward double-digit growth.

Various state governments and real estate firms have made lofty promises of “affordable housing”, but few have delivered.

One man is determined to show he can. Entrepreneur Jaithirth “Jerry” Rao, who headed software firm MphasiS, this week launched a project in Bangalore to build 1,900 homes that will be priced at 450,000 – 1 million rupees (roughly $9,500 – $21,000) each.

Rao’s Value and Budget Housing Corp – floated with a former Citibank colleague – will use lightweight aluminium beams and cast-on-site technology to cut costs.