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Industry hails infra decision, says it expected more from the Budget

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Though the Finance Minister’s Budget announcement on Wednesday of granting infrastructure status to affordable housing has been unanimously welcomed, the real estate industry is of the view that many of its concerns have not been addressed by Mr Jaitley. Herewith we reproduce the response to the Union Budget 2017-18 received by Realty & More from prominent stakeholders of the realty sector.

Anuj Puri, Chairman & Country Head, JLL India: The Budget that was being touted as a make-or-break one for the future of India, and the Government made some big announcements on the infrastructure front and also on beneficial changes to the affordable housing segment.

The Budget missed out on giving any additional income tax incentives to first-time home buyers or providing higher tax savings on housing loans and house insurance premiums. Nor did it raise house rent deduction limits. However, it did provide some direct tax relaxation to the lowest income earners, and gave some clarity on the designated beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. A new Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) for the middle-income group with a provision of INR 1,000 crore in 2017-18 was announced. Also, extension of tenure of loans under the CLSS of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) was increased to 20 years from the existing 15 years.

Moreover, one crore houses are to be built by 2019 in rural India for the homeless and those living in ‘kaccha’ houses. Allocation to PMAY has been increased from Rs. 15,000 crore to Rs. 23,000 crore in the rural areas – and affordable housing will now finally be given infrastructure status. This is very significant, because it will provide the vital budget housing segment with cheaper sources of finance including, but not restricted to, ECBs (external commercial borrowings). Also, re-financing of housing loans by NHBs (National Housing Bank) can give a leg up to the sector.

Tapan Sangal, Executive director, Lotus Greens: “The granting of infrastructure status to affordable housing will give impetus to the accomplishment of the stated goal of ‘Housing for All’. The Infra status will provide access to easier financing and associated tax benefits for such projects.

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“The change in norms for constructed area from built-up to carpet will also result in many more projects coming under the affordable housing tag, especially in the four metros. The increase of time limit for completion from three to five years for availing 100 per cent profit deduction for affordable housing will encourage more realtors to take up such projects.”

Gaurav Jain, Managing Director & CEO, Jindal Realty Pvt Ltd: “Through the announcements made in the Union Budget 2017-18, the Government continues to work on its reformist agenda. Extending the incentives for low-cost housing and affordable housing, the announcement of including the segment under infrastructure will provide the necessary boost to the segment. This aligns to the overall target of providing low cost housing of the government under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (Housing for all by 2022).

“The industry expected more support on the personal taxation front as incentives announced give push to sales. More savings through tax rebates strengthen the hands of consumers. With more rebates and savings, homebuyers across slabs can invest in the housing market. However, the Union Budget announcements have touched upon only the base income slab and have ignored other higher income slabs, as against the expectations of the industry”.

R K Arora, Chairman, Supertech Ltd. :“The budget for financial year 2017-18 has the potential to give much needed impetus to affordable housing in the country.  The Real Estate Developer community appreciates that the Government is serious in achieving the objective of Housing for All by 2022, which is evident from the grant of Infrastructure Status to affordable housing. The other positive steps to revive the real estate in the Budget are additional refinance of Rs. 20000 crores through NHB. This is good news for both developers and investors in real estate projects.  Further, the permission to complete Affordable Housing Projects in 5 years instead of 3 years to qualify for Tax exemption in 80IB is a relief.   The new Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme for Middle Income Group with allocation of Rs. 1000 crores in the Budget will also revive the demand”

Pawan Jasuja– Director, Find My Property.: “Affordable housing being given Infrastructure status is a welcome move and will help for Housing to all by 2022. Special funds under Pradhan matri Awas and NHB will bring huge opportunity for a large no of home buyers. Govt. focus for developing road infrastructure, manufacturing and affordable housing will not only help to decongest urban area but also help to development of new industrial cities around our industrial transport corridors. Affordable housing area criteria based on carpet area instead of build-up area will give benefit to more buyers”

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Suresh Garg- CMD-, Nirala World.: “The focus of govt. was housing for all and the budget was good for affordable housing as it has now industry status. Now funding and loan will be easily available for houses upto 60 sq. mt. But this could be better if entire real estate sector would have assigned this status or some clauses should have been introduced for general housing too”.

Ashudeep Batra- ED, Exotica Housing.: “This was quite exciting for affordable housing as it has been given industry status and sufficient time of 5 years to complete. Tax relaxation to salaried is also good but first time home buyers could not get any space. Reduction in Income tax limit for basic slab will help widen the tax and reduction in interest rates by banks, is to be expected to promote push in the affordable housing market”

Mr. Sam Chopra, Founder and Chairman of RE/MAX India: “Post the DeMO drive, our government has been focusing on making our economy policy and system based and hence following the targeted delivery approach to become more planned and professional. Very rightly said by the FM, Arun Jaitely, the positive signs and optimistic outlook of the economy are showing green shoots and the effects of DeMo are not expected to spill over in the next year. The affordable housing has been given the infrastructure status which is likely to result in improved participation from private players”

Dr. Jaijit Bhattacharya, Partner – Strategy and Economics, KPMG in India “Budget 2017 has focused on infrastructure, including digital infrastructure, increasing private investments, increase consumption and strengthen social sector and safety net, including health and education. The key feature of the budget appears to be several declared deadlines for outcomes such as elimination of TB by 2025, removal of unmanned crossings in railways by 2019 etc.”

Neeraj Bansal, Partner and Head of Real Estate, KPMG in India.: “By granting Infrastructure status to affordable housing, the Government acknowledges that affordable housing industry is an important driver of the economy. Affordable housing developers will now be eligible for several Government incentives, subsidies, tax benefits and most importantly institutional funding.”

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Manish Aggarwal, Partner and Head of Energy and Natural Resources, KPMG in India.: “Budget 2017 augments the already established mode of using government budgetary spend to boost infrastructure in an overall tepid private sector investment sentiment. Integrated Transportation focus including railways, metros, multi-modal transport, highways is transformational and has the potential to launch economic growth into the next orbit.”

Kalpesh Maroo, Partner, BMR & Associates LLP .:“The real estate sector has continued to receive a fair share of the focus of the FM in the Budget 2017.  The affordable housing segment which has been granted ‘infrastructure status’ is the biggest benefactor.  This would imply that developers would have easier and cheaper access to bank and institutional finance.  The enhanced scope of tax holiday for affordable housing projects and the reduction in the corporate tax rate to 25 percent for small companies is likely to have a positive impact.  The extension of the lower withholding tax benefit onforeign debt (NCDs) would also encourage continued participation from foreign funds.  The much awaited clarity on taxation of joint development contracts, would also result in deferment of taxes and provide certainty on the tax treatment.”

Avneesh Sood, Director, Eros Group.: “The government has yet again presented a Budget that will bring about a cheer to the masses. From favourable changes in the personal income tax structure to heavy investment plans for the infrastructure along with the according of infra status for the affordable housing segment and so much more, real estate sector is sure to directly and indirectly benefit from this budget in the near future. Amongst the big decisions, an outlay of almost 4 lakh crore has been planned for infrastructural development across the country, no tax for earners upto INR 3 lakh a year and no property tax for developers on unsold inventory till one year after completion certificate is issued. With such announcements, we are projecting the demand for budget housing to multiply that will also allow a positive drift in the momentum for the realty sector.”

Deepak Kapoor, President CREDAI-Western U.P. & Director, Gulshan Homz.: “Announcement of infra status for the affordable housing segment in the Budget will open up new avenues for the developers planning to offer budget housing units and will make it easy and comfortable for them to get finance from lending agencies. Affordable housing developers will now be eligible for various government incentives and subsidies, where this infra status could also mean that the government might come out with land parcels for such development in future. With the basic slab of income tax now reduced to half the effect, people will have access to higher disposable income which can now be utilised for saving and investment purposes, where real estate will look attractive. Also, to promote foreign investment in the country, FDI is planned to be liberalised further.”

Rakesh Yadav, Chairman, Antriksh India.: “The popularity and acceptance of this budget was clearly visible for the realty sector as we saw the real estate stocks driving the day in the share market. The decision of granting infra status for the affordable housing segment along with the rebate in personal income tax announced by the government will provoke the developers to shift their gears and develop affordable housing projects; which is now sure to meet the demand as well. One major issue faced by various builders across the major Tier 1 cities of the country is the inventory pile up. The tax break up of one year post the receipt of the completion certificate for the project, for the unsold stock, offers a slight breather for the builders. Overall, this budget looks quite favourable for the realty sector and its buyers in the long run.”

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Rajesh Goyal, Vice President CREDAI-Western U.P. & MD, RG Group.: “As anticipated, a populous budget has been announced by the government which will allow the young generation to save more and invest further. This budget saw the government offering several benefits to the realty sector, at the same time missing out on a few important decisions. Single window clearance system is still not implemented across the country which is hampering the delivery schedule of the developers. Amongst the major hits, the criteria for affordable housing has been changed from built up area to carpet area basis. This will allow affordable housing segment to look more lucrative for both, developers and buyers. With the income tax rebate for the first slab and affordable housing incentives in place, we will now observe the youth of the country looking out at realty sector as an avenue for investment or residing.”

Abhishek Bansal, Executive Director, Pacific Group.: “With today’s budget announcement, the affordable housing segment and the retail industry will see the biggest boom. The moment tax structure is simplified and relaxed, the spending power of people increases and this spending is directly contributed towards either savings or investments. Although, the young earning age in India is expected to spend and invest more rather than save, thus retail industry will witness increased footfall in the upcoming financial year. Real estate sector on the other hand, will benefit from the affordable housing development and hence, developers will now be eager to plan accordingly. Buyers interest will now shift towards low budget houses as these units will now come with a reduced price tag with the developers gaining access to easy finance from lenders; well supported by recent rate cuts and announcements.”

Ashok Gupta, CMD, Ajnara India Ltd.: “With a mammoth budget investment plan for the infrastructure of the country announced, various untapped regions will gain connectivity with major cities. This development will further broaden the avenues for realty development across the country. Affordable housing has yet again been the prime target of the government as it looks to fulfil the dream of housing for all. With the initial tax slab relieved and infra status announced for the affordable housing segment, upcoming project launches will witness majority of affordable projects. In a nut shell, this budget will provide a massive thrust to India’s realty sector which has been picking up pace gradually over the years”.

Ashwani Prakash, Executive Director, Paramount Group.: “Union Budget 2017-18 was likely to give some respite to the realty sector and it was highly expected that this sector might get industry status this year, but this has not happened. However, the FM has still taken an appreciable step in giving infrastructure status to affordable housing and increasing the scope of the same. The decision of increasing the period of completion for affordable housing projects from 3 to 5 years is also a welcome move. Reduction in interest rates for home loans is already in place, relaxation in the individual tax limit would also encourage the home buyers to come forward.”

Pradeep Aggarwal, Co-Founder & Chairman, Signature Global.: “Driven with the view to provide houses to all at affordable rates, government’s move to grant infrastructure status to the affordable housing segment in the country along with the relaxation especially in the first slab of the personal income tax will not only spur growth in the construction of affordable housing but also enhance the demand for the same. As the disposable income increases, people will be inclined to invest towards property. With the lending interest rates lowered and purchasing power increased, we will witness a steep rise in affordable housing demand across the country, which will now be well met with the upcoming supply.”

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Neeraj Gulati, MD, Assotech Realty Pvt Ltd. :“The budget has provided the much awaited relief to the real estate sector.  The sector has been looking at the Union budget as the game changer and it has introduced recommendations in the right direction. Policy changes throughout 2016 have been helpful in making real estate a more transparent as well as a stronger sector. Giving infrastructure status to affordable housing is a welcome move and is likely to result in increased participation from private players and improve capital inflow. Apart from that, National Housing Board (NHB) will also refinance individual loans worth 20000 crore in 17-18 offering capital relief to the lenders. With the lending rates already low, providing tax sops to smaller businesses will also augment the purchasing power and is a welcome step for the real estate sector. Reducing tax slab of individuals will also propel investment in the sector.” says Mr. Neeraj Gulati : Managing Director – Assotech Realty (P) Ltd.”

Bharat Dhawan, Partner, Mazars.: “Overall the budget is very positive at a macro level, though it did lack some big bang reforms that the market was expecting. Huge positives for the farmers, the rural community and Skill India campaign by increased focus on making the rural youth employable. Similarly, higher focus on infrastructure in rural areas, North Eastern states and Jammu and Kashmir will see these regions benefitting immensely.  We consider granting infrastructure status to affordable housing will provide significant benefits to the real estate sector.”

Ashoo Gupta, Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co.: “The Government’s decision to grant infrastructure status to affordable housing will spur the accomplishment of the objective of Housing to All by 2022. It will boost cement, steel, construction industries as well as employment and surge launches of new real estate products across the country. For implementing its decision, the Government requires formulating a policy for social housing and setting out models on how land at low cost can be provided to developers for constructing affordable housing. It is essential to reach out to all segments of the society and not restrict the benefits to low income or economically weaker sections. A fast-tracked approval process for housing projects, clarity on the definition of ‘affordable housing’ for metros as well as Tier II and III cities across the country, access to cheaper funding to home buyers, higher tax exemptions on housing loans without restrictions regarding the size of the apartment, or the size of the loan will also boost the real estate sector.”

Parveen Jain, President NAREDCO on Union Budget.: “Mr. Parveen Jain President NAREDCO said “The Union Budget 2017-18 has now set in motion a series of structured reforms process for the housing sector in the country. The announcements made in the Finance Bill focuses on the upliftment of the urban poor and the under privileged within our cities and rural areas”. Assigning the infrastructure status to affordable housing gives the segment the necessary push for further growth. The aim to build 1 crore housing in rural areas by 2019 for the homeless aligns with the government’s agenda to bring 2 crore housing by 2022 under its Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (PMAY).”

Sanjay Malhotra, CEO, Emaar India.: “The budget presented today focusses on ramping up spending on infrastructure, provides the necessary impetus to Housing for All program and continues the structural reforms initiated couple of years ago. The agenda of Transform, Energise & Clean India , shall improve the quality of governance & quality of life. The move from discretionary administration to policy based administration is visible in the budget proposals. The long-standing demand from real estate industry saw the light of the day, with affordable housing segment getting the Infrastructure status. This, along with increased allocations under NHB and PMAY-Gramin, will enable larger funding available to Home buyers & Developers, at a lower cost and also make the sector eligible for various incentives. Proposals like reduction of holding period for the purposes of long term capital gains tax from 3 years to 2 years, changing the base rate of indexation to 1.4.2001, shall provide the necessary respite to the property owners and also making property an attractive investment option.”

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Vishvaraj Infrastructure Ltd Chairman and Managing Director Mr. Arun Lakhani.: “A big infrastructure push along with a substantial hike in provisions for the National Highways in the Union Budget for 2017-18 is a major takeaway and I congratulate the Finance Minister for the growth oriented approach. A 25% higher capital expenditure is sure to give the economy a big growth momentum. Priority to doubling of farm income and rural development makes it a balanced and inclusive budget.

The focus on rural sector, large allocation of Rs 3.96 lakh crore for infrastructure development and social spending are welcome moves. New dispute resolution mechanism for quick dispute settlements and abolishing FIPB will improve the ease of investing in India along with the push on digital that will bring in efficiency and eradicate corruption. Addressing arsenic and fluoride menace in 28,000 villages gives the budget a human touch while reducing corporate tax rate by 25% for MSME and the move to curb cash donations for political funding are very good moves.”

Pratik K. Mehta, Managing Director, Unishire.: “Great budget overall and indeed a full filling budget for the Real Estate sector. Finally, according infrastructure status to Affordable Housing will lower cost of finance and offer more opportunities. Carpet area definition for affordable size of homes from 60 to 90 sq.m. is apt for metros as it is more relevant and practical. Long term capital gains reduced to 2 years from 3 years is again a great and welcome move. Lowering of tax by 5% for companies with turnover below 50Cr is another good draw. All these will provide a good impetus to affordable housing and certainly pave way for government’s Housing for all by 2022 dream. Having said that, actual impact will be felt only in a long term as most of the current development was not into the defined affordable space. Government has clearly communicated its focus on the affordable housing space and now sector will witness planning and development towards this from all the players.”

Neeraj Gulati, MD, Assotech Realty: “The Budget has provided the much-awaited relief to the real estate sector. The sector has been looking at the Union Budget as the game-changer and it has introduced recommendations in the right direction. Policy changes throughout 2016 have been helpful in making real estate a more transparent as well as a stronger sector. Giving infrastructure status to affordable housing is a welcome move and is likely to result in increased participation from private players and improve capital inflow. Apart from that, National Housing Board (NHB) will also refinance individual loans worth 20,000 crore in 17-18 offering capital relief to the lenders. With the lending rates already low, providing tax sops to smaller businesses will also augment the purchasing power and is a welcome step for the real estate sector. Reducing tax slab of individuals will also propel investment in the sector.”

Prashant Tiwari, Chairman, Prateek Group: “Finance Minister announced that the project will now be sold on the basis of carpet areas that will help the buyers know the exact area that they are getting. Focus of the budget is on infrastructure development including airports and roads, this will help in healthy growth of real estate sector also. Announcements like  new FDI policy under consideration and tax relief on unsold stock as liability to pay capital gains will arise only in the year a project is completed will give boost to the sector”.

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Gaurav  Gupta, Director, SG Estates Ltd. “Good Budget for Real Estate perspective because  of complete clarity on affordable housing. The criteria for low cost / affordable housing has been changed from built-up area of 30 / 60 sq mtrs to carpet area of 30/60 sq mtrs, thus making the low cost – affordable housing segment more lucrative for us and also making the segment more attractive for the buyers. With the change in criteria from built-up area to carpet area, the purchasers get more spacious homes and the builder is able to market the property to a larger segment of buyers. Also areas like Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Noida etc will now be able to get incentives of the scheme by making houses upto carpet area 60 sq. meter (650 sq.ft) as against 30 sq.meter earlier. Infrastructure status has been granted to affordable housing thus ensuring more liquidity for the real estate and access to funds at lower costs. This will motivate more builders to develop affordable housing units which is the need of the country. ”

Akshay  Taneja, MD, TDI Infratech Ltd. “We welcome the infrastructure status being given to the affordable housing sector, it will help achieve the target set to cater to this most important segment, which is the need of the hour. We will now see more of such projects being announced in the recent future. With this announcement, the banks will now lend more to projects in the affordable housing segment. Another budget announcement that will help the real estate market is the announcement of focus on making airports in tier II cities through PPP model. This announcement will lead to more housing and real estate projects come up in the vicinity of the airports in these cities”.​

M. Murali, Managing Director, Shriram Properties on Union Budget 2017 -18.:“I would say, this a well balanced, mixed and a progressive Budget coming in the wake of series of reforms which aimed at increased transparency, elimination of corruption and growth of digitalisation. The budget reflects the efforts of the Government to continue the reforms, yet, keeping in mind the welfare of the weaker section of the society. Focus on farmers and rural spending to encourage rural employment is most welcome, as India being basically an agrarian economy.

The budget shows that we are on path of fiscal consolidation – fiscal prudence without compromising on public spending – with Fiscal deficit pegged at 3.2%. Infrastructure allocation of 396000 crs shows the concern of the Government for suffering infrastructure  development in the country.”

Deepak Kapoor, President, CREDAI Western UP: “One of the best thing to happen to real estate sector is the industry status being given to affordable housing. This will help in increasing liquidity as banks will be more keen to extend loan to the developers for affordable housing. To promote affordable housing, the Finance Minister said that the scheme for profit linked income tax exemption for promoters of affordable housing will be broad based.  Instead of built-up area of 30 and 60 sq. mtrs., the carpet area of 30 and 60 sq. mtr. will be counted. Also the 30 sq. mtr. will apply only in case of municipal limits of four metropolitan cities while for the rest of the country limit of 60 sq. mtr. will apply.  Another practical aspect and respite to the developers is that the houses to be built under affordable housing can now be completed in five years after the commencement of work as against the three year period earlier”.

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Tushad Dubash, Director, Duville Estates.:”The Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is a people’s budget where Affordable Housing has been the focus and will be given infra status. This bodes well for home seekers living in tier II and tier III cities, which is also in line with government’s vision of ‘Housing for All 2022’. Also, since affordable housing will now be given infra status, we can look at funding through insurance companies, which is a huge alternate sector and opens up a new avenue for real estate funding.Demonetization has impacted the real estate in the short term. But on the flip side, we see banks flushed with funds and given the surplus liquidity that they presently have, we look forward to banks further lowering their home loan interest rates to customers. ”

Arjunpreet Singh Sahni, Executive Director, Solitairian Group:“There is plenty to cheer in budget 2017 which has boosted the morale of all the stakeholders of real estate sector in true sense. Grant of infrastructure status to affordable housing will go a long way in fulfilling the bigger dream of providing homes to the masses. The Government’s another path-breaking provision in this budget is the additional refinance of individual loans worth of Rs. 20000 crore through NHB which will definitely prove to be a shot in the arm for the real estate sector. Apart from all these, the benefit of the additional disposable income in hand of the taxpayers due to increase in income tax exemption limit will also result into boosting the demand for housing in the market. In a nutshell, it’s a win-win budget for both homebuyers as well as the real estate developers.”

Kalpesh Maroo, Partner, BMR & Associates LLP.:“The Budget of 2017 is a mixed bag for the Infrastructure sector.  In line with the recent budgets, the FM has increased the overall infrastructure spending on rail, roads, shipping etc.   On the tax front, the extension of the lower withholding tax benefit on NCDs for interest paid upto June 2020 would encourage funding by non-resident partners.  The treatment of Rupee Denominated Bonds on par with foreign currency debt where interest on all borrowings by June 2020 is eligible for a lower withholding tax rate of 5 per cent provides much sought after clarity to infrastructure companies.  Pending the explicit clarification, the offtake of RDBs as a instrument for funding was slower than expected.  However, the amendment proposed should now result in increased issuance of RDBs by Infrastructure Companies.”

ANITA ARJUNDAS, CEO, MANAGING DIRECTOR & CEO – MAHINDRA LIFESPACE DEVELOPERS LTD.: “The Union Budget 2017 has demonstrated fiscal prudence while placing a strong emphasis on infrastructure building and in addressing the housing needs of rural India and of specific income segments in urban India. We welcome the conferment of infrastructure status to affordable housing, which can improve resource allocation to the sector, thereby reducing cost of capital for developers.  Moreover, the changes under Section 80 IB with respect to size of units (built up area to carpet area), time frames for project completion (3 years to 5 years) and geography (upto 60 Esq. beyond the 4 metros) will encourage greater participation by organized developers in the affordable housing segment, thereby catalyzing development and reducing the supply gap.

Interest subsidies announced last year under PMAY and further broadened during the recent address of the Prime Minister will further help reduce cost of home ownership for the relevant segment. Enhancement of budget allocation under PMAY and to NHB will greatly help finance these segments.Overall, the focus accorded to housing and infrastructure will provide impetus to accessibility, connectivity and job creation, which bodes well for the nation’s economy.”

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Mr. Ganesh Vasudevan, CEO, India Property.com.: “The Union Budget 2017-18 was in line with the earlier narrative and gives major push to infrastructure and affordable housing sector. There is a major and cohesive impetus towards driving the housing for all promise through enablers for affordable housing, addressing both demand and supply side issues.One of the biggest developments for the realty sector in this budget is affordable housing getting infrastructure status. Also, now bigger unit area qualifies for affordable housing making more units applicable for affordable housing benefits. This move would not only push affordable housing in tier 2 and 3 cities but the sector would also attract better investments. More builders would now target this sector as they will be able to avail flexible long-term funding at lower costs. Affordable housing is where maximum housing demand in the country is and the budget 2017 clearly moves a step closer to achieving the dream for Housing for All”

Mr. Nipun Singhal, Director, Lloyd Electric & Engineering Limited: “It’s a balanced and growth oriented budget which will benefit the overall economy with simultaneously providing booster dose to catalyze growth in consumer durable market. The Budget 2017-18 has actually enabled the people to spend more with reducing the tax liability of the middle class who constitute a major chunk of the population in India. It’s a timely move meant to strengthen the demand in the market which has been almost stagnant over the last few quarters. The provisions in this budget will also help the economy to weather the demonetization impact successfully.”

Mr. Dhiraj Jain (Director – Mahagun Group).:“The Union Budget has been a mixed bag for real estate sector. Whereas “infrastructure” status has been extended to affordable housing, the mid-market and luxury segment have been left out, despite the fact that the real estate sector contributes about 9% to the GDP and is a driver for a number of industries and generates massive direct and indirect employment. 100% profit linked deduction to the developer for the affordable segment has been further widened to provide for the time period of completion of the project to 5 Years as against 3 years provided earlier and “Built-up Area” substituted by “Carpet Area”. Moreover, the limitation of 30 sq mts per unit for such housing has been restricted to only four metro cities of Chennai, Delhi, Kolkatta and Mumbai. Some relief has been provided to the developers by way of providing a window of one year from the date of completion for taxing of ‘notional’ rent on unsold inventory as ‘income from house property’.”

 

Ms.  Ashoo Gupta, Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co.:“The Government’s decision to grant infrastructure status to affordable housing will spur the accomplishment of the objective of Housing to All by 2022. It will boost cement, steel, construction industries as well as employment and surge launches of new real estate products across the country.

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For implementing its decision, the Government requires formulating a policy for social housing and setting out models on how land at low cost can be provided to developers for constructing affordable housing. It is essential to reach out to all segments of the society and not restrict the benefits to low income or economically weaker sections. A fast-tracked approval process for housing projects, clarity on the definition of ‘affordable housing’ for metros as well as Tier II and III cities across the country, access to cheaper funding to home buyers, higher tax exemptions on housing loans without restrictions regarding the size of the apartment, or the size of the loan will also boost the real estate sector.”

 

 Vishvaraj Infrastructure Ltd Chairman and Managing Director Mr. Arun Lakhan:“A big infrastructure push along with a substantial hike in provisions for the National Highways in the Union Budget for 2017-18 is a major takeaway and I congratulate the Finance Minister for the growth oriented approach. A 25% higher capital expenditure is sure to give the economy a big growth momentum. Priority to doubling of farm income and rural development makes it a balanced and inclusive budget.

The focus on rural sector, large allocation of Rs 3.96 lakh crore for infrastructure development and social spending are welcome moves. New dispute resolution mechanism for quick dispute settlements and abolishing FIPB will improve the ease of investing in India along with the push on digital that will bring in efficiency and eradicate corruption. Addressing arsenic and fluoride menace in 28,000 villages gives the budget a human touch while reducing corporate tax rate by 25% for MSME and the move to curb cash donations for political funding are very good moves.”

 

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Mr Sanjay Malhotra, CEO, Emaar India:“The budget presented today focusses on ramping up spending on infrastructure, provides the necessary impetus to Housing for All program and continues the structural reforms initiated couple of years ago. The agenda of Transform, Energise & Clean India , shall improve the quality of governance & quality of life. The move from discretionary administration to policy based administration is visible in the budget proposals.
Being one of the largest employers in the economy and contributing 6% of the GDP, the revival of real estate sector needs continued support with more such measures, which will also have a multiplier effect on various sectors that provide material & equipment for construction & development.”

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