Industry voices from across sectors such as real estate developers, parliamentarians and social activists came together for the conclave in New Delhi, hosted by apex real estate's body Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Association (CREDAI) conclave themed on "Housing the game changer leading to double – digit GDP growth".
One of the main highlights at the conclave was the urgency in setting up of real estate regulator. The contribution of the sector to the GDP of the country was also applauded.
Other key highlights
Affordable housing was a much discussed topic at the conclave. The real estate developers present at the conclave agreed that though in the last five years, there has been a lot of progress on the affordable housing front, still a lot more needs to be done to give the housing segment the required boost.
Vikram Jain, lead, low-income housing practice at Monitor Deloitte, a management consulting firm, said there is a huge demand for low income housing. "There is a demand for 15 million homes and the demand for these homes comes from buyers with an income of Rs 10,000-25,000 per month," he said.
The solution to the rising demand for affordable housing is to build homes with clear title, provide water and electricity, said Jain. "The idea is to build small flats of 229 sq ft flat in space, with no wastage of space, costing around Rs 8 lakh," he said.
Lalit Kumar Jain, chairman, CREDAI, ruled that the real estate sector receives a step-motherly treatment from the government. "The real estate sector's contribution to GDP is 6.2% and it employs over 1 crore people. Yet, it has been ignored," Jain said.
Jain said there is a lot of frustration among real estate developers over the treatment meted out to the sector. "The infrastructure sector gets 10-year moratorium but if we don't pay our loan within 90 days, it goes into default. We try to do our work with transparency then why are we shunned by the government," he lamented.
At the conclave, Rajnath Singh, BJP president asked real estate developers to send a list of its demands to the party, so that they can be included in the BJP's Lok Sabha election manifesto. "We will try and do our best for the sector," he said.
Rajnath Singh recalled that when the NDA government was in place, the government had focused on infrastructure development and housing sector development. "We reduced interest rate on housing loan. We also focused on infrastructure development through national highway projects. Incidentally, I was the surface transport minister during NDA regime," he said.
Also, Rajiv Shukla, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Planning and Secretary, All India Congress Committee, asked the real estate developers to send a detailed report on the problems ailing the sector. Shukla asked CREDAI to create a delegation of developers and approach the planning commission. "We will take your problems to the concerned ministries. Don’t worry about the upcoming elections. The government will work till the last day," he said.
Union Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Dr Giriji Vyas, assured real estate developers that the real estate regulatory bill will be suitably modified if necessary. "There is no reason for worrying about this. We will talk to you first on the real estate regulatory bill," she said. Dr Vyas agreed that the government will do a rethink on multiple taxation of the real estate sector. "We will think about relaxing Floor Space Index (FSI) norms as well and on relaxing loan facility to the sector," she said.