Mumbai: Developers apex body CREDAI has called for an inclusive housing policy in the upcoming Union Budget 2013-14 which will be announced on February 28. In his Budget wish list, submitted to the finance ministry, CREDAI's national president Lalit Kumar Jain suggested that tax exemption for small houses of under-60 sq meters of carpet area be allowed.
The country's housing shortage is very high at 18.1 million houses and an incremental need is around another 10 million houses. "It is high time that the government took a pragmatic and practical look at the real estate sector today and take steps that help the industry in particular and the economy in general," he said.
Real estate contributes as much as 5.5 per cent to the GDP and together with the construction industry the share goes up to 11 per cent. Even in China, which is more known as manufacturing hub, the contribution of real estate to its GDP is as high as 30 per cent
"We see no reason as to why real estate cannot become the new growth engine for the Indian economy," Jain said and further pointed out that the sector is highly labour and capital intensive. Over 400 industries depend on the real estate and construction and that is how we can ensure sky high growth of the GDP.
Calling for an inclusive housing policy aimed at helping the common man realise his dream of having shelter, the developer's body also demanded that housing should be accorded industry status. Affordable housing should be treated as priority sector and the rates of interest for housing loans should be brought down to an acceptable 7.5 per cent.
CREDAI also suggested a special focus on rental housing to serve the needs of a huge section of the population that may not be in a position to immediately buy houses. Funds from global resources could also be invited for this. For easing liquidity concerns CREDAI has stated that launching of tax free bonds for housing will make funds available at cheaper rates.