Industry calls for push to affordable housing

December 28th, 2008 - 3:00 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 28 (IANS) Describing the government’s decision to provide 5 percent interest subsidy on housing loans taken by the economically weaker sections (EWS) as “a move in the right direction”, an industry lobby Sunday said it would boost demand of affordable housing.“The prevailing high interest rate has dampened the overall demand and has severely affected the affordability, thus making housing a distant dream of a common man,” said Chandrajit Banerjee, director general of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

“The 5 percent subsidy approved by the cabinet (Friday) for the EWS and LIG (low income groups) is thus a move in the right direction, which will serve the twin objective of providing much needed relief to the general public and at the same time boosting demand in the economy,” he said.

According to him, the cost and availability of the land is a major bottleneck in making housing affordable. “There is, therefore, an urgent need to increase the supply of land at affordable prices.”

“The supply of well-developed and commercially viable land would bring down the prices in the current markets,” Banerjee added.

To achieve this, the CII urged the government to provide infrastructure status to integrated township development, increase the municipal limits of the existing cities, relax floor space index and allocate specific land in any construction plan for the weaker sections.

The CII has also suggested that government should consider either waiving off or substantially reducing the stamp duty for the EWS and also promotion of appropriate low-cost housing technologies.

“With the phenomenal increase in population and urbanisation, the shortage of housing is expected to increase from 24.7 million dwelling units in 2007 to 26.5 million dwelling units by 2011,” it said.

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