Faced with a massive shortage of houses — 2.47 crore — in urban areas, the government is now looking at several initiatives, including a proposal to provide fiscal and other incentives to organisations that provide houses for their employees and individuals who buy them for renting purposes.
Besides these, development of special packages for cooperative housing and labour housing as well as involvement of the private sector in a big way in providing shelter are other important measures being contemplated under the new National Urban Housing and Habitat Policy that has been finalised recently by the Centre.
According to the state housing and urban poverty alleviation minister, Kumari Selja, the central and state governments have a limited capacity to meet the entire demand for housing units in the towns and cities, which is expected to grow further in the coming years.
So, under its policy of providing affordable housing for all, the government will focus on building dwellings for the poor under the lower income group (LIG) and economically weaker sections (EWS) categories. For the middle-income groups (MIG) and affluent classes, it will act as a facilitator in encouraging the non-governmental organisations and private entrepreneurs to build housing projects.
To encourage development of housing pools by public and private sector companies, the ministry may give tax concessions also, Selja said on Monday. Though the minister did not say so, it is quite possible that this proposal may find a place in the forthcoming Union Budget.