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CREDAI hails infra status move for affordable housing

Welcoming Union Housing Minister Mr Ajay Maken's move to accord infrastructure status to affordable housing, realtors' apex body CREDAI called for extending similar treatment to the entire housing sector.

"We are happy that the Centre has come half way through on the developers and customers' demand for according infrastructure status to the housing sector to facilitate easy financing and other benefits and to give a much-needed boost to the most important need of a man after food and water," said Mr. Lalit Kumar Jain, National President of CREDAI.

CREDAI - Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India - has over 10,000 members and associations in 20 cities across the country.

Mr. Jain said Mr Maken, in his speech in Mumbai at an international conference, has made a good beginning and "we hope he will move further in a positive direction."

CREDAI has been relentlessly campaigning for infrastructure status for housing sector, declaring it as an industry and creation of special housing zones with tax reliefs on the line of SZEZ," Mr Jain pointed out.

He expressed the hope that the State Government will take note of Mr. Maken's suggestion to increase FSI limits so as to encourage housing for slums that sprang up in central locations.

"We have been stressing that nobody would like to be displaced from the area where one has grown up and has his source of income there. Relocating such people - who are in millions - will only lead to added pressure on the existing infrastructure like travelling," Mr. Jain argued.

Half of Mumbai lives in slums and the solution to housing shortage is manifold. Mass rental housing for the benefit of people with transferable jobs and those who cannot immediately buy houses of their own, affordable housing for low income groups and economically weaker sections with enhanced FSI limits and special housing zones on the outskirts like Navi Mumbai and Thane and Mira-Bhayander are some of the solutions that CREDAI has suggested.

CREDAI has also put forth a plan of action to the government to come with realty reforms covering banking and administration. Affordable finance for affordable housing sector and speedy or single-window system of clearances, automation of the project clearance process to eliminate human interaction that causes corruption are among the steps that CREDAI suggested.

Mr. Jain expressed the hope that the Centre will follow-up with Mr. Maken's welcome move and announce some pragmatic and practical measures to give boost to the housing sector.

Housing, along with construction industry, contributes as much as 11% to the GDP and supports some 400 industries which can substantially multiply if supported with proactive policies. Hence revival of housing sector is vital for rejuvenating the national economy, he added.