By Accommodation Times News Service
Dr. Girija Vyas, Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, has called upon the private developers to develop economic models to foster affordable housing for the economically weaker sections and lower income group households in urban areas . Dr Vyas said this while delivering her inaugural address at “National Symposium on Affordable Housing” here today. She said that in the last two decade most of the houses were built and purchased by the growing upper and middle classes. But the poor segments of the society, basically economically weaker sections (EWS) and lower income Group (LIG) have not reaped the benefit of real sector boom. She said this has come out clearly by the Technical Group, set by her Ministry, which shows that out of 18.78 million housing shortage in the country, 96% shortage is in the EWS & LIG category and for this we require huge investments and hence Private Sector along with the Government needs to play a crucial role to fill this gap. In her address, Dr. Girija Vyas informed that her Ministry is modifying all the major schemes including the Rajiv Awas Yojana for rehabilitation of slum dwellers, Rajiv Rinn Yojana for providing interest subsidy on housing loans, Affordable Housing in Partnership scheme to attract private players in housing and the National Urban Livelihoods Mission to boost the employment potential of the urban poor and enormous budgetary support has been earmarked during the current plan period.
Dr. Vyas stated that there is an urgent need to focus the policy and programmes of the Central and State Governments towards inclusive and sustainable urban development. The policies will have to keep pace with the urbanization taking place in the country and the administration must gear up to meet the emerging challenges. Dr. Vyas announced that the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation will pursue with relevant Central Ministries and State Governments the implementation of the recommendations of the Task Force on promoting Affordable Housing set up last year under the Chairmanship of Shri Arun Kumar Misra , Secretary Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation. Highlighting the major recommendations of the Task Force on the occasion, Shri. Arun Kumar Misra said that incentives for the affordable housing sector included concessions to development related charges and Service Tax exemptions. It also sought Direct Tax rebates for Affordable Housing projects and inclusion of the sector in the ‘’infrastructure facility’’. The task force felt that Governments need to still provide direct capital grant support to Affordable Housing projects. Recommendations also outlined targeting instruments such as FDI, ECB etc. for brining in the required capital into the affordable housing projects.
Under the supply side non-financial incentives the recommendations focused on reduction of timelines for fast track approval process for Affordable Housing projects. The report calls upon the State and Cities to prepare a full inventory of their land holdings and increasing FSI and providing TDR facilities, Shri Misra added. The Demand side financial incentives include: Interest Subsidy for the urban poor, appropriate reduction of stamp duty for registration of property in Affordable Housing projects. The Demand side non-financial incentives consisted of creating a facilitator role for the government in creating of affordable housing stock with involvement of all stakeholders.