Real Estate India

Housing minister exhorts private sector to grab opportunity that affordable housing offers

NEW DELHI: Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Wednesday said all the stakeholders should pitch in to meet the goal of providing houses to all the urban poor by 2022, asking the private sector not to miss the “opportunity” that affordable housing sector in India offers.

Referring to China, he said infrastructure and housing sectors significantly contribute to the growth of any country and highlighted various initiatives of the government, including ‘infrastructure status’ to housing sector which will make easier for developers to avail loans.

“If we are able to meet our goal of building 18-20 million affordable houses in 4,041 urban centers by 2022, then it will require efforts not just by the government, but by all the stakeholders,” he said while addressing an Assocham event here.

“I think the private sector is an important stakeholder by any yardstick and I hope you will not miss this opportunity,” Puri said.

He said those who have the privilege of living in “affluence” perhaps “underestimate or not fully comprehend” the importance of a pucca house.

“It is something which is transformative for the future, not only the individual but for the entire family and the generations to come,” he said while citing his example.

He said his previous generation, who came from Pakistan, initially sought shelter from the ravages of partition by living and seeking shelter in refugee camps.

“Thereafter, with great difficulty, they got some refugee rehabilitation property and they never looked back after that because we have had a pucca house,” he said.

Stressing that the Modi government was able to enact the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, after it was “languishing for eight years”, he said the initiative, however, was “subsequently undermined” by some states which “tweaked” the rules while framing their legislation by changing provisions relating to the ongoing projects.

“That is one of the problems but a major problem. However, the matter is now before the courts and other local authorities,” he said.

The minister also chose the occasion to clear the “misunderstanding” that slum dwellers would be “uprooted and taken to some 200-km” from their current place of living due to the rebuilding of their colonies.

Puri explained that multi-storeyed residential blocks can be constructed by the developers in urban slums by monetizing some of the space occupied by them and using the money for construction of new houses, providing ‘pucca’ house to people in the same location.

Under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban), the government aims to provide ‘pucca’ houses to all the urban poor by 2022.

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