Bud­get wish list

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80C should be ei­ther in­creased from the ex­ist­ing limit of R1 lakh or the prin­ci­pal re­pay­ments be ex­cluded from sec­tion 80C and treated sep­a­rately.

The prin­ci­pal re­pay­ments in such a case may be treated as a sep­a­rate tax ex­emp­tion com­po­nent sim­i­lar to in­ter­est pay­ments on hous­ing loans (un­der Sec­tion 24) which are de­ducted from the tax­able house in­come and have an up­per limit of R1.5 lakh.

Also, for in­ter­est pay­ments on hous­ing loans, the cur­rent ceil­ing of R1.5 lakh should be in sync with the ris­ing in­ter­est rates and in­creased to at least R2.5 lakh, says Sachin Sand­hir, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, RICS South Asia.

Ex­perts also rec­om­mend that the home loan limit for pri­or­ity sec­tor lend­ing (PSL) should be re­vised. The home loan limit of R25 lakh should be re­vised up­wards to R35 lakh un­der PSL, so as to ben­e­fit an in­creased num­ber of home­buy­ers who are cur­rently strug­gling to buy prop­erty be­cause of price escalation.

Also, bank loans to government agen­cies in­volved in con­struc­tion of af­ford­able hous­ing units should be re­laxed from the ex­ist­ing R5 lakh to R25 lakh per dwelling unit.

Ren­tal hous­ing should be en­cour­aged by set­ting up pub­lic ‘hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tions’ (HAS) that con­struct, own, op­er­ate and man­age the ren­tal hous­ing units.

The nec­es­sary fund­ing could be ei­ther pro­vided through bud­getary al­lo­ca­tions or with the credit guar­an­tee trust fund, set up by the government last year, guar­an­tee­ing the loans taken by th­ese HAS, adds San­jay Dutt, ex­ec­u­tive man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, South Asia, Cush­man & Wake­field.

Yet an­other de­mand is that of in­fra­struc­ture sta­tus for af­ford­able hous­ing. This, say ex­perts, will help the sec­tor get easy fi­nance from banks at lower in­ter­est rates as in­fra­struc­ture is a pri­or­ity sec­tor lend­ing area for banks. This would mean that de­vel­op­ers get an in­come tax ben­e­fit (of 100%) on their prof­its for 10 as­sess­ment years, say ex­perts.

Navin Ra­heja, chair­man and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Ra­heja De­vel­op­ers, has pro­posed that def­i­ni­tion of ‘in­fra­struc­ture fa­cil­ity’ should in­clude an in­te­grated town­ship and group hous­ing devel­op­ment on an area of more than 10 acres.

This should in­volve pro­vi­sion of res­i­den­tial, ed­u­ca­tional, med­i­cal, com­mu­nity, com­mer­cial or in­sti­tu­tional build­ings and cre­ation of re­quired fa­cil­i­ties in­clud­ing roads, water sup­ply, water treat­ment, san­i­ta­tion and sew­er­age sys­tems and solid waste treat­ment and man­age­ment sys­tems.

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