Venkaiah Naidu asks real estate sector for "out of box" ideas

 Seeking "out of the box" ideas from the real estate sector for affordable housing, the Government on Wednesday said it will consider recommendations for investing insurance and pension funds in the sector.

New Delhi: Seeking "out of the box" ideas from the real estate sector for affordable housing, the Government on Wednesday said it will consider recommendations for investing insurance and pension funds in the sector.

"Real estate sector also has to work with out of box ideas to make a mark in affordable housing segment. This sector also has huge demand and opportunities," Urban Development and Housing and Poverty Alleviation Minister Venkaiah Naidu said.

He was speaking at a real estate conference organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

"Recommendation pertaining to allowing insurance and pension funds to invest in real estate sector will also be taken up in due course," Naidu said.

The NDA government has promised to provide housing for all by 2022.

Naidu said providing housing for all is a big challenge and the government needs public and private participation to meet the target. He also assured the industry that his ministry wants that affordable housing should be included in the priority sector lending by banks.

"We are pursuing with Finance Ministry regarding providing a sub-window of at least three per cent for affordable housing sector within 40 per cent priority sector lending allocation," the Minister said.

He further said the need for 'single window clearance' is also being explored. "We are discussing how far it is possible with other ministries and state governments and also to give infrastructure status to housing sector," Naidu said.

Responding to grievances of those in the real estate sector over delay in getting clearances including environment, Naidu said he is hopeful of finding a solution to this.

"As far as environment clearance is concerned, which is one of the reasons for long delays, I had discussion with the Environment Ministry and we hope to find some solution to this.

"Once the Urban Development authority's plan has been approved then there should not be any need for individuals to go for clearance for each and every project. We are considering the suggestion positively," Naidu said.

Naidu said efforts are on to arrive at a consensus on the Real Estate Bill and it will be introduced in the next session of Parliament.

"We are proposing to bring the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill in the next session. We are holding discussion with various stakeholders and consumer forums to arrive at a consensus. We will be holding a final round of discussion before taking it to Parliament," he said.

On the proposed 'Smart Cities', Naidu said his ministry is in the advance stage of finalisation of the contours of the project and hopes to finalise it and take it to the cabinet by November.

He, however, said the municipal bodies have to approve the reforms agenda to become part of the Smart City concept.

"You have to first identify the cities and city municipal bodies have to approve the reforms agenda to participate the Smart City concept. State governments also must stand by them and then we move forward. We also need to prepare detail project report (DPR) and then move forward," he said.

Acknowledging a great demand for Smart city plan among various cities, Naidu said, "Cities cannot be constructed overnight. There is so much demand for smart cities and it has become flavour of the season. The process is on we are in advanced stage of finalisation of the various contours of the smart city concept."

On the government's ambitious Swachh Bharat Mission, he said sanitation and cleanliness should be part of the curriculum in schools to inculcate the idea at an early stage.

He has asked ASSOCHAM to constitute an award for maintaining cleanliness at offices.

Naidu said a high level committee is being formed to suggest ways for unclogging Delhi because the capital is heavily congested.

"We are discussing it with various ministries including Defence, Railways, NHAI, Delhi Government and all have been asked to sit together on this. The committee has been asked to submit report in 45 days about ways and means for unclogging Delhi."

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