By Accommodation Times News Services Mr. Rohit Poddar, Managing Director, Poddar Housing: “This government has finally walked the talk and has shown its seriousness for the affordable housing sector. The financial package they have announced will not only encourage but will also make new affordable housing projects financially viable. I welcome this long over due move.” “The budget 2016 was supposed to be a very crucial affair for the realty market. There were huge expectations from the Finance Minister Mr Arun Jaitley but the result was a mixed-bag if the real estate industry was considered” reckons Mr Chintan Sheth, Director, Sheth Corp Mr. Ajay Jain, Head – Real Estate Group, Centrum Capital Ltd. The budget focused heavily on the rural population with funds for de-stressing rural economy and strengthening the infrastructure. However the budget maybe a disappointment for the real estate industry with very few initiatives taken towards reviving the sector. Mr. Mayur Shah, Managing Director, Marathon Group We would like to congratulate the Finance Minister in presenting a budget that promises economic growth through digitization, rural and skill development and heavy expenditure on infrastructure. The real estate industry welcomes some of the announcements like exemption of dividend distribution tax from Real Estate Investment Trust (REITs). Provisions like 100 percent deduction to undertaking for construction of affordable housing and additional tax deduction on interest paid for loan amount on house less than Rs 50 Lakh is worth appreciating. These measures will boost affordable housing in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region and will at the same time achieve the Prime Ministers dream of Housing for All’. Increase in tax deduction from Rs 24000 to Rs 60000 for those living in rented house will also benefit the housing sector indirectly. However, the Finance Minister could have done few more things for the real estate sector that needed attention. Industry status at par with infrastructure for priority lending below 10% would have been icing on the cake. Single window clearance scheme were other topics that remained untouched.