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Government: Private investment needed to meet housing deficit

New Delhi, Oct 4 (Calcutta Tube) Budgetary support and various official schemes are not enough to overcome the housing shortage in the country, the government said Monday, asking all stakeholders in the sector to turn the deficit into a market opportunity.

‘The housing deficit cannot be addressed only be means of budgetary support or government programmes,’ Housing and Poverty Alleviation Minister Kumari Selja said, addressing a seminar on ‘Better City Better Life’ on the World Habitat Day.

She asked banks, builders and other stakeholders in the real estate sector to ‘adopt a strategy to convert the housing shortage into a market opportunity and mobilize private investment.’

The minister said banks and other financing institutions should make use of the opportunities offered by schemes like the Interest Subsidy Scheme for Housing the Urban Poor (ISHUP).

Underlining the need for credit enhancement through appropriate fiscal, legal and institutional mechanisms, the minister said it is necessary to ensure the flow of capital to have a slum-free India.

She said though private builders and firms have participated in higher income housing in a big way due to easy availability of institutional finance, the urban poor face a financial exclusion from the formal system.

‘Financial institutions are reluctant to lend to the lower income segments due to perceived credit risks and lack of credit history,’ she said, adding: ‘This outlook requires a change.’

Referring to the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY), she said it would create an enabling environment that encourages states to tackle the problem of slums in a definitive way. And this can be achieved by bringing existing slums within the formal system and enabling them to avail of the same amenities as the rest of the city.

She said it would also redress the failures of the former system that unwittingly lead to creation of slums and force the urban poor to resort to extralegal solutions in a bid to retain their sources of livelihood and employment.

India’s urban population is projected to rise to 50 percent from the present 28 percent in the next 20 years.

–Indo-Asian news Service

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