New Delhi: Property consultant Anarock said that only 29 per cent of nearly 1.4 lakh dwelling units launched during the first six months of this year falls into affordable housing category and are eligible for various tax incentives offered by the government. The government should relax the price cap of Rs 45 lakh in its definition of affordable housing so that more people can benefit from tax sops, the consultant demanded. In recent Budget announcement, the government has increased the deduction of interest on home loan by Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh to boost demand for affordable housing. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalAlready, the GST rate is only 1 per cent for under-construction flats in affordable housing category and the Centre provides interest subsidy to home buyers through a scheme. “Only a paltry number of developers have built housing that meets the government’s criteria for incentivized affordable housing in 2019,” Anarock Chairman Anuj Puri said. Of the total housing supply of 1,39,490 units in the top seven cities H1 2019, merely 39,840 units meet these criteria. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost”The Government’s recent Budget bonanza’ of an additional INR 1.5 lakh tax deduction on interest repayment of home loans availed till March 2020 will benefit very few people in urban India,” Puri said. To avail credit subsidy benefits along with the new Budget sops for affordable housing, a home must be priced less than Rs 45 lakhs and not exceed 60 sq meter carpet area or about 850 sq ft built-up area, including overall loading. Of the housing shortage of 19 million units in urban India, nearly 96 per cent pertains to the EWS and LIG categories – the target of the government’s affordable housing push. Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) topped the list with the maximum launches of 17,700 units in this affordable housing category. Pune came in a distant second with 9,350 units. Delhi NCR saw the launch of 6,950 units in this category in H1 2019. Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata together accounted for 5,820 new units in this category in H1 2019. Unlike earlier, the consultant said that developers are quite keen on affordable housing, despite the lower profit margins. Nevertheless, there are ‘natural’ barriers to deploying more supply in the government-stipulated affordable category, it added. “High input costs in urban areas – High land prices in the municipal limits of the major cities (where urban affordable housing is most needed) make it unfeasible for developers to launch affordable housing projects there,” Puri said. Lack of basic infrastructure in the peripheral areas (where housing within Rs 45 lakh is feasible) discourages buyer interest, which curtails supply, he added. Scarcity of land and restrictive affordable housing criteria are also hurdles in boosting supply in this category. Talking about solutions, Anarock suggested that the government should unlock vacant land held by it.
Prof. Peiris briefed his German counterpart in detail about the LLRC implementation process and said that the country is entitled to the space and time to move forward with a homegrown programme. The Government says LTTE front organizations are still operating in Germany under the guise of community organizations, the External Affairs Ministry said today.External Affairs Minister Professor G.L. Peiris, during his bilateral discussions in Berlin with Dr. Guido Westerwelle, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, said that according to information available to Sri Lankan authorities, there are a substantial number of schools operated in Germany by these groups for propaganda and fund raising purposes. He urged the German authorities to keep a close watch on their activities in breach of the EU proscription. It is quite evident, he asserted, that voting patterns are determined by political, strategic and economic interests of countries in terms of their relationship with the mover of the Resolution, rather than a dispassionate consideration of issues relating to the country situation in question.This is contrary, he said, to the intention of the General Assembly of the United Nations when it resolved to replace the Human Rights commission with the Human Rights Council, on the basis that the former was unduly politicized and, therefore, deficient in assessing situations on their merits. Sri Lanka, he said, is happy to work with the international community on the footing of equality and partnership, but opposed judgmental and highly selective postures. (Colombo Gazette) Meanwhile in his address at a largely attended meeting of the German Association for Foreign Policy (GDAP) in Berlin, Prof. Peiris raised several issues regarding recent trends in the Human Rights Council in relation to Sri Lanka. He stressed the importance of an objective approach, and questioned whether this basic requirement is fulfilled in recent interventions. He said that the Resolution in respect of Sri Lanka received hardly any support when it was brought by one country and, in fact, could not be proceeded with, but that the situation changed dramatically when the Resolution was moved by another country.