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Baton of urban transformation passed on to states: Venkaiah Naidu

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Venkaiah NaiduThe baton of urban transformation in the country is now in the hands of the states and urban local bodies (ULBs) after the launch of the three new urban missions, said Minister of Urban Development and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation M.Venkaiah Naidu.

“The Central Government has done its bit by formulating the new missions after extensive consultations with states and based on their views and suggestions,” he said.

The states have been given full freedom in designing, approving and execution of projects under the new missions. He urged the State Governments to strengthen urban local bodies by transferring funds and functionaries and enhancing their administrative, planning and technical capacities. S

The focus should be on revenue generation and urban reforms to meet the aspirations of the citizens under new urban missions,” he added.

The minister specifically urged the states and ULBs to strive more to ensure housing for all the urban poor by the year 2022.

Referring to mandatory registration of houses built under the mission either in the name of woman or jointly with husbands, the Minister said that this is being done since women would never think of selling house unlike men.

Furthermore referring to mobilization of required resources for urban housing scheme, Naidu said that there is substantial scope for FDI in construction sector including affordable housing.

He said that several measures are being taken to promote housing construction which include:

1.Reduction in minimum built up area from 50,000 sq.mt to 20,000 sq.mt and reduction in minimum investment norm from US $ 10 million to 5 million $;

2.Exemption from these norms for affordable housing;

3.Allowing External Commercial borrowings for Affordable Housing and Slum improvement at a level of US $ 1 billion for the current fiscal.

4.Pursuing Real Estate Bill to protect interest of consumers while at the same time enhancing the credibility of Real Estate Sector;

5.Enabling priority lending or Infrastructure Sector for construction sector;

6.Increased tax incentives for investments in housing; and

7.Inclusion of Slum development in the list of Corporate Social Sector activities.

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