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By Dr Sanjay Chaturvedi, LLB, PhD

It was in 1998 and then in 2005 “The National Housing and Habitat Policy” was for the first time after independence introduced by then governments. In all 12 five year plans, housing was never a priority neither it was in any Union Budget till late 2010.
In the Housing Policy, the best thing was to repeal the draconian Urban Land ceiling Act and many new targets were self imposed by the then government. With the industry help and associations like CREDAI, government for the first time understood the need for a comprehensive housing policy in the country. As per the 1991 Census, the estimated figure of housing shortages in the country is pegged at 22.90 million units as on 31.03.1991. More than 90 % of this shortage is for the poor and the low income category. The National Housing & Habitat Policy aims at creation of surpluses in housing stock either on rental or ownership basis and provision of quality and cost effective housing and shelter options to the citizens, specially the vulnerable group and the poor.
With this as main objective, National Housing Policy 1998 gave birth to many modifications and special thrust areas in government policies and state policies. The Policy envisages the role for local bodies to identify specific housing shortages and devise programmes to meet housing shortages and augment supply of land for housing, particularly for the vulnerable group.
Today, when previous government had given much emphasis on affordable housing through Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana and gave home loan interest subsidies besides direct subsidies for rural homes, it was public private partnership built more than 50 lakhs homes in the country. The trend is continuing in two and three tier metros were population is just above 10 lakhs.
Today, we don’t know how much short we are. Planning commission is now Niti Aayog needs to identify the region wise figure as to how much short we are. Why to waste nation’s resources by constructing unnecessary assets which are of no use to any one but to increase burden on builders who are struggling hard to cope up with debt they have taken to construct affordable housing.
Post RERA regime must be accessed, new Housing Policy must include detailed research and study as to role of every player in real estate industry and housing. We just can’t go on constructing homes without knowing who will occupy them. Role of State Housing Board and responsibilities must be certain, curb on Housing finance interest greed must be imposed and chief objective should be homes for every Urban poor must addressed.
There is no mai baap for Real Estate. Aftermath of COVID-19, it seems that real estate industry is treated like step motherly treatment. The stimulation were declared for every section of but for the industry. The rebate must have been given in GST or jajia of taxation for home buyers instead of asking industry to reduce the price. It is time when the biggest contributor to GDP industry and highest employment generator after Agriculture must be given a comprehensive Housing and real estate policy which have rationalization through out the states and to a longer period of time. The consistency in policy and frequent change in legal frame work, taxation and planning FSI have made uncertainty in the industry.
A comprehensive policy is need of the hour.