India is committed to providing affordable housing to the urban poor despite problems in acquiring land and getting money, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister Kumari Selja said in New Delhi on Thursday.
"The government will provide its full cooperation and support to encourage, guide and strengthen the efforts to make affordable housing for all a reality," Selja said after inaugurating a conference on affordable housing for the urban poor.
"Finding land in our bursting metropolises to house the growing number of urban poor is probably one of the greatest challenges that our city planners face. Innovative solutions are the need of the hour," she said.
She said the government is committed to the cause and also urged the private sector to come forward to take up housing programmes for the poor and low-income groups.
Selja, who is also the minister for tourism, said India's real estate market is "unorganized and fragmented and most of property transactions are based on certain perceptions and not necessarily on the sound business principles".
In this direction, she said the government is planning a real estate regulation bill, which aims to provide guidelines to facilitate growth and promotion of healthy, transparent, efficient and competitive real estate sector.
"The customer satisfaction is low and the procedure for redressal is long and cumbersome," she said, adding that this could be addressed by rating the builders and developers.
However, she praised the potential of the sector in social and economic areas.
"The housing sector in India holds tremendous potential and has positive impact on the social and economic development of the country," she added.
In 2006-07, the sector contributed about 4.5 per cent of country's gross domestic product and comprised approximately seven per cent of the total urban workforce.
She said the government in June introduced the Rajiv Awas Yojana for the slum dwellers and the urban poor to provide them housing.
"The government's effort is to create a slum free India through this scheme," she added.