The government expressed disappointment on Tuesday as not even a single proposal came from private builders for low-cost homes and asked realty firms to promote affordable housing that has been given infra status recently. Addressing a real estate conference, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said builders should not make any "more excuses" as the government has met their long standing demand of according infrastructure status to affordable housing in the Budget for 2017-18.
The minister urged the states not to deviate and dilute the rules under the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, amid reports that some of the states have changed the key provisions of the law.
"I am rather disappointed that not a single proposal hascome from private builders so far even though PMAY (Urban) hasbeen designed envisaging a big role for private sector," he said at the conference organised by industry body PHDCCI.
Naidu said there are huge opportunities for private sectorunder various components, including affordable housing in partnership (AHP), of the mission.
"For a long time, you have been demanding infrastructurestatus for housing sector... Now, developers have no moreexcuses to keep on dithering about promoting affordable housing in a big way," Naidu said.
The Minister underscored that infra status for affordable housing would go a long way in placing more cash in the handsof home buyers and act as "catalyst" for the growth of lowcost housing projects.
With the ambit of scheme extended by covering people with incomes of up to Rs 18 lakh per year, he said, "So, the opportunity is knocking at the door. Now, it is for developers to rise to the occasion post Infrastructure status, Real Estate Act and remonetisation. No more excuses I repeat." Naidu directed HUPA Secretary Nandita Chatterjee to soon hold a meeting with all stakeholders, including developers' bodies, banks and housing finance companies, to find out the reasons for the lacklustre response of the private sector to Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) (PMAY-U) scheme.
"This round table also needs to discuss ways and means,if need be, of improving various components of PMAY (Urban) to encourage private sector participation," he said. Naidu said the Act and remonetisation will give a big push to the housing sector provided the developers "change their outlook and mindset" and come out with new business principles and models.
"It is a fact that this critical sector over the years hasacquired a certain degree of taint for several reasons that weare all aware of. There is a serious crisis of character," he said, adding that the new realty law seeks to restore thecharacter of the sector. "The Benami Transactions (Prevention) Act would further complement in this regard. RERA Act has boosted the entireindustry and is definitely proving to be a game changer for the real estate sector," he said.