Navin Raheja

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October 1, 2014

7th Summit cum Excellence award on Real Estate: Reforms Agenda by Assocham

Assocham in association with Credai had organized 7th summit cum Excellence awards on Real Estate : Reforms Agenda at Hotel Le Meridien recently where Shri M Venkaiah Naidu, Hon’ble Union Minister for Urban Development and Housing & Poverty Alleviation was the chief guest. Seeking "out of the box" ideas from the real estate sector for affordable housing, the Government on Wednesday said it will consider recommendations for investing insurance and pension funds in the sector.

"Real estate sector also has to work with out of box ideas to make a mark in affordable housing segment. This sector also has huge demand and opportunities," Urban Development and Housing and Poverty Alleviation Minister Venkaiah Naidu said.

The NDA government has promised to provide housing for all by 2022.Naidu said providing housing for all is a big challenge and the government needs public and private participation to meet the target. He also assured the industry that his ministry wants that affordable housing should be included in the priority sector lending by banks."We are pursuing with Finance Ministry regarding providing a sub-window of at least three per cent for affordable housing sector within 40 per cent priority sector lending allocation," the Minister said.

He further said the need for 'single window clearance' is also being explored. "We are discussing how far it is possible with other ministries and state governments and also to give infrastructure status to housing sector," Naidu said.

Responding to grievances of those in the real estate sector over delay in getting clearances including environment, Naidu said he is hopeful of finding a solution to this."As far as environment clearance is concerned, which is one of the reasons for long delays, I had discussion with the Environment Ministry and we hope to find some solution to this."Once the Urban Development authority's plan has been approved then there should not be any need for individuals to go for clearance for each and every project. We are considering the suggestion positively," Naidu said.

Naidu said efforts are on to arrive at a consensus on the Real Estate Bill and it will be introduced in the next session of Parliament."We are proposing to bring the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill in the next session. We are holding discussion with various stakeholders and consumer forums to arrive at a consensus. We will be holding a final round of discussion before taking it to Parliament," he said.

On the proposed 'Smart Cities', Naidu said his ministry is in the advance stage of finalization of the contours of the project and hopes to finalize it and take it to the cabinet by November. He, however, said the municipal bodies have to approve the reforms agenda to become part of the Smart City concept."You have to first identify the cities and city municipal bodies have to approve the reforms agenda to participate the Smart City concept. State governments also must stand by them and then we move forward. We also need to prepare detail project report (DPR) and then move forward," he said.

Acknowledging a great demand for Smart city plan among various cities, Naidu said, "Cities cannot be constructed overnight. There is so much demand for smart cities and it has become flavor of the season. The process is on we are in advanced stage of finalization of the various contours of the smart city concept."

Speaking at the occasion Mr. Raheja opined that India’s housing shortage is acute, and the Indian government has always kept low-cost housing in focus. However, most developers have shied away from this area because affordable housing is a relatively low-margin business; and, in a high-inflationary scenario, profitability remains a key concern. Participation by private equity (PE) funds has also been limited in the budget housing space. The Government may look at how to facilitate quicker land acquisition, faster approvals, easy-and-low-cost funding availability, and better infrastructure to make affordable housing a more interesting proposition for developers and investors.

From Right to Left: Shri D. S. Rawat, Secretary General, assocham; Shri M.K. Bhardwaj, chairman of Assocham Expert Committee on Public Procurement; Shri S.K.Jindal, ‎Director at Jindal group of companies; Shri M Venkaiah Naidu, Hon’ble Union Minister for Urban Development and Housing & Poverty Alleviation; Shri Rohit Raj Modi, President, Credai NCR; Shri Rajeev Talwar, Chairman, Urban Development Committee, assocham & Group Executive Director, DLF Limited; Shri Navin M Raheja, CMD, Raheja Developers Limited

From Right to Left: Together inaugurating the book on Reforms and agenda are Shri D. S. Rawat, Secretary General, assocham; Shri M.K. Bhardwaj, chairman of assocham Expert Committee on Public Procurement; Shri S.K.Jindal, ‎Director at Jindal group of companies; Shri M Venkaiah Naidu, Hon’ble Union Minister for Urban Development and Housing & Poverty Alleviation; Shri Rohit Raj Modi, President, Credai NCR; Shri Rajeev Talwar, Chairman, Urban Development Committee, ASSOCHAM & Group Executive Director, DLF Limited; shri Navin M Raheja, CMD, Raheja Developers Limited