India's rural housing stock to rise up to 44 mln by 2025: Report

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New Delhi, Nov 25 (UNI) A report prepared by National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and Swiss cement firm Holcim said the rural housing stock in the country will increase by about 44 million by 2025 and called for fiscal incentives and encouraging Private-Public-Partnership (PPP) to give a boost to this sector.

Releasing the report on 'Rural housing in India: Challenges and Opportunities', former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan said, ''This is just a beginning. There is much more that needs to be done to improve availability of adequate housing to the rural population.'' He said there is a need, particularly to make the whole process of acquiring inputs and services necessary for housing construction as simple and accessible as possible to ordinary citizens in the villages.

NCAER Director General Suman Bery said, ''transformation of the rural housing scenario has remained a challenge in India. The concept of rural housing is still not well understood vis-a-vis urban housing.'' He said rural housing is distinct from urban housing with respect to the type of housing that rural households require and the costs associated with the construction of houses.

''The regional dimension is far more significant in the context of rural housing than for urban housing. Most importantly, the focus in the policy discussion so far has been on housing for the poor which is an important area,'' he said.

Mr Berry said there is also the large non-poor population which requires housing and efficient cost effective supply of materials, technology and finance to this population should also be a concern.

The main focus of the present study is on identifying the determinants of rural housing in India, he said.

The report is based on primary data collected from a sample of rural households spread over different states, as well as on the housing data collected during various decennial Censuses and NSSO.

It said rural housing an opportunity as ''improved housing conditions will also mean improvement of in the productivity of labour force in years to come. It is opportunity also because housing development provides an important source of local employment and income generating activities.'' On the other hand, the report said rural housing is a challenge as ''the present condition is very unsatisfactory with respect to the type of of construction, basic housing infrastructure and also because rural habitations are so dispersed geographically.'' Reaching the building materials to the villages and building houses is not as economical as it is in the urban areas, it said adding that extending the housing credit through institutional route to rural home builders is more difficult than it is to lend to salaried employed in urban areas.

The report suggested the following measures to boosting the housing in the rural areas.

--Procedure for registering housing property records should be made easy and inexpensive.

--Construction of group housing complexes in densely populated villages should be encouraged through PPPs.

--Level of subsidy should be reviewed periodically, subsidy levels fixed at reasonable levels, housing subsidy schemes should also consider support for housing sites for house construction.

--Specially designed rural housing loan products not merely for new construction but also for upgrading and improving existing housing stock.

--Fiscal incentives to support rural housing development.

--Efficient technical support.

--Rural local government bodies to assume greater responsibility in the development of rural housing and habitat.

--Coordinated approach to rural housing development that brings together building material industry, housing finance, public policy and civil society organisations.


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