The National Real Estate Developers Council has resolved to assist the Indian government in its goal to ensure housing for all by 2022 and called for lowering of interest rates on home loans to 8 per cent.

In a ‘Delhi Declaration’ issued at the end of a two-day national convention, the council welcomed the government’s decision to clear various bottlenecks in implementing the policy and adopt a PPP model to develop mass, affordable housing. “The developer community will be more than happy to be a valuable stakeholder,” the Delhi Declaration said.

Sunil Mantri, President, NAREDCO, said that the implementation of the National Housing Policy would require changes in the master plan for urban development and funds up to Rs. 12 lakh crore a year. The council urged the government to make available low-cost funds at least for affordable housing, encourage FDI in the sector and take steps to implement single-window system for clearance of real estate projects across the country.

The council also suggested that real estate should be accorded infrastructure status since it contributed “handsomely to the GDP,” supported about 250 other industries and generated large-scale employment.

NAREDCO acknowledged the environment ministry’s move to permit clearances at the local level for projects up to 40 hectares and sought clearance via automatic route for projects up to 50,000 sq. metres.

“Environment clearance should be a part of the master plan or development plan at the development stage and individual clearances should be done away with,” Mantri said.

NAREDCO also requested the central government to take steps to reduce tax and make available less expensive land for real estate, as nearly 80 per cent of the realty cost was taken up by taxes at various levels and spiralling land costs. Further, it asked the government to provide guidelines to states to ease FAR/FSI restrictions, scrap the ‘ready reckoner’ for deciding stamp duties and declare a national policy on slum rehabilitation with incentives to developers for building free homes for the homeless poor.

The council also urged the government to focus on infrastructure like roads, mass rapid transport, water and electricity while facilitating the housing sector development.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation has said that a technical group had estimated urban housing shortage of 187.80 dwelling units in urban areas of the country. He further said that 2,20,741 houses had been built in urban areas during the last three years under different programmes like Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission, Rajiv Awas Yojana and Affordable Housing in Partnership.

Uttar Pradesh tops the list with urban housing shortage of 30 lakh units followed by Maharashtra (19 lakh units), West Bengal (13 lakh), erstwhile Andhra Pradesh (13 lakh), Tamil Nadu (12 lakh), Bihar (12 lakh), Rajasthan (11 lakh), Karnataka (10 lakh), Gujarat (9 lakh) and Jharkhand (6 lakh).

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