Government to put out a white paper on housing

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) The government is preparing a white paper that will bring out all the issues affecting supply and demand in the housing sector, a top official said here.

‘Towns and cities are growing by default rather than by design. There needs to be a rethink on the land use issue and we are in the process of getting a white paper on the subject out,’ said Kiran Dhingra, secretary, ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation.

The white paper would cover issues like inclusive growth in urban areas, real estate regulations, creation of new cities, tax incentives required to incentive both the developers as well as the buyers. It would be put in the public domain to elicit public comments.

Addressing a seminar on housing organised by the PHD chamber in the capital Thursday, she said India needs to change the town planning approach that is followed to tackle the ever increasing housing shortage in the country.

‘We need to plan new towns and cities, not as satellites of existing ones but around employment hubs like industrial estates.’

She added that a review of the urban land policy is being undertaken and urban development authorities need to tune themselves with the macro-economic policy adopted in the country post 1991.

The ministry is also formulating a housing start-up index (HSUI) in collaboration with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for all urban areas, which will indicate the demand-supply gap as reflected in conversion of building permits into actual starts in all states.

‘This is an important step as it will indicate the health of the housing sector. It will also be a good indicator of economic growth,’ Dhingra said.

She declined to specify the time frame in which both the white paper and HSUI will be out.

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