“In the march towards affordable housing for all Indians by 2022, we will not have any financial constraints or bottlenecks,” housing and urban affairs (HUA) minister Hardeep Singh Puri said, on February 6, 2018.
About the budget announcements, the minister said the outlay for PMAY (Urban) has been increased by Rs 25,000 crores in extra budgetary resources, in the financial year 2018-2019. This amount was apart from the budgetary funding of Rs 6,505 crores for the housing scheme. “We will establish an ‘Affordable Housing Fund’, which will be anchored in the National Housing Bank (NHB) and raise Rs 25,000 crores from non-budgetary resources,” he said. This was a ‘massive increase’ of funds, as against Rs 6,042.81 crores allocated for PMAY (Urban) in 2017-18, the minister said.
Puri listed out various initiatives of the government, to incentivise the affordable housing sector, like the passage of the Real Estate Bill, infrastructure status to the affordable housing sector and reduction of GST from 12 per cent to eight per cent. The PMAY (U) aims to provide about 1.2 crore houses to the urban poor by 2022. In urban areas, the assistance has been sanctioned to construct 37 lakh houses till now. “Overall, the Union Budget, coupled with the recent initiatives, will have a positive impact on the housing and real estate sector in India,” he said.
To a query, the minister said that he has been asking the Delhi government to send proposals regarding various projects, including the Phase IV metro and Delhi-Meerut Expressway. “Time has come to ensure decongestion of Delhi. I am willing to go out of my way, to find a solution. Whether that solution will include a possibility that if they (Delhi government) are not doing it, whether we do it on our own, I will say all options are on the table,” he said.
Over the sealing issue in the national capital, he said the deadline for sending the comments on proposals to the DDA, which required amendment to the Master Plan of Delhi (MPD-2021), to provide relief to traders, was increased by 48 hours and will end on February 7, 2018. After that, a board of inquiry would be set up, to look into the suggestions, before the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) takes a decision on the proposals on February 9, 2018.