GUWAHATI, June 7 � The Confederation of Real Estate Developers� Associations of India (CREDAI) has made strong pleas for structural changes in the NE Industrial and Investment Policy (NEIIP).
It has expressed serious concern over the fact that the people of the North Eastern region of the country are made to pay the highest price for construction materials. This has made affordable housing virtually impossible in the region. Significantly, this is despite the fact that the NEIIP of the Government of India, has made provisions for lofty subsidies to the region�s industries engaged in manufacturing construction materials like cement and steel, said the CREDAI.
The list of subsidies enjoyed by the construction material manufacturing industries in the region includes 100 per cent income tax exemption, exemption of excise duty, transport subsidy, manpower subsidy, power subsidy, genset subsidy, 30 per cent capital subsidy, 99 per cent VAT exemption, interest subsidy on working capital and 100 per cent reimbursement of insurance premium.
There is absolutely no mechanism in these policies to ensure that the thousands of crores of rupees in public expenditure incurred in these subsidies for the benefit of the region and its people, actually reaches the intended beneficiaries or serves any public purpose. In reality, a handful of industrialists are the sole beneficiaries and the
materials produced are sold at the highest price in the country leading to escalation of housing costs so much so that 32 per cent of Guwahati people are already living in slums, as housing is beyond their affordable reach, the CREDAI said.
It recommended passing on of the 80 per cent of the benefits of subsidy enjoyed under the NEIIP to the affordable housing sector, in the form of reduced prices of building materials. Moreover, the grant of subsidies must be linked to a legitimate selling price, it said.
Assam Real Estate and Infrastructure Developers� Association (AREIDA) president PK Sarma, who is a member of the CREDAI governing council, said that after the CREDAI meeting, its members met Union Minister for Housing, Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation Venkaiah Naidu on June 2 on being invited, to discuss means of achieving the BJP manifesto objective of �Housing for All by 2022�.