Punjab on Thursday announced construction of one lakh houses for economically weaker sections in next three years and urged the Centre to help create a special fund to help states in providing affordable housing.
Participating in the 'Housing for All' conclave of State ministers of Housing and Urban Development at Vigyan Bhawan here on Thursday, Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal said the state has already created a land bank of 300 acres for this purpose and expected it to increase exponentially in the next year.
Badal, who also holds the Housing portfolio, asked the Urban Development Minister Venakaih Naidu to create a special fund in which excise revenue collected from sale of construction material could be deposited.
He said this revenue could then be transferred to the States for subsidising housing for the weaker sections.
He also proposed exemption of development authorities like GMADA and GLADA from payment of income tax, saying they were contributing to urban development by creating much needed infrastructure as well as housing for weaker sections.
He said as part of its policy all developers in Punjab had to hand over 5 per cent of their gross area to government for development of housing for economically weaker sections.
The State has already enacted a housing policy envisaging private partnership, so that the committed housing could be built in the stipulated time frame, he said.
Emphasising that housing growth was a parameter of health of economy, the Deputy CM also recommended that the centre consider reducing interest rates on affordable housing as inexpensive housing is the need of the hour.
He said this single step would give an impetus to affordable housing projects in the entire country.
He also asked the Centre to come up with state specific schemes even in case of the housing sector as each State had its specific needs.
He also urged for resumption of financing of all projects which had been taken up under the ambit of the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNURM) earlier but could not be completed. He said this was essential to complete the projects.