The COVID pandemic had impacted the economies worldwide adversely and the housing sector is no exception. With stalling of the economic activities due to the nationwide lockdown in India, the housing sector faced immense challenges. What added on to the adversary as reverse migration of the migrant labourers from big cities. Therefore, to bring in light ‘Housing’, the impact of the pandemic on the sector and the way forward, Elets Technomedia Pvt. Ltd. organised the ‘National Housing Summit’ on August 26, 2020.
Prakash Baviskar, Chairman and Managing Director, Baviskar Group, commenced his session with a word of appreciation for the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra, Sanjay Kumar, saying that he has done noticeable work for the progress of PM Awas Yojana in Maharashtra. He further talked about other panellists by appreciating their works in the housing sector. He also defined the National Housing Summit as a platform that brings out appropriate data and views of various government leaders, experts, and private firms in the housing sector.
Addressing the theme, Baviskar said, “The right approach to take innovative initiatives in the housing sector is to create a win-win situation. If we need support from the government, we need to ensure that it is also a part of the win-win situation.” Adding on, he said, “There are nearly 250 industries allied to the housing sector. Therefore, we can work on improving the finance sector, income tax and GST can be enhanced, state government stamp duty and premium can also be enhanced, etc.”
Considering different plans, policies and strategies of different state governments, there are always suggestions like reduce stamp duty, reduce GST, etc. However, “I don’t ask for any reductions except for time because that will make it affordable”, he added.
Highlighting the significance of government collaboration he said, “Zoning of land is of utmost importance. If I have a piece of land available but it has not been zoned by the government department under the R-Zone then we cannot get the housing plans sanctioned. Therefore, regular meetings, follow-ups and healthy collaboration with the government are important in this sector.” So, if we get the required permissions on time then the housing can be made more affordable, he added.
Raising a few concerns, Baviskar pointed out that through various ways the government at all the three levels get nearly 20 per cent to 25 per cent of the profits. Whereas, the realtor gets five per cent only. And, in times of losses no government share is there. “I would like to urge that the calculations should be revised at the government level. Also, the fee that is collected initially while getting the plans approved should be made convenient in terms of payment like instalments can be made if possible.”