Banks, real estate sector help sought to make India slum-free

New Delhi: Seeking viable solutions to make India slum-free, the government today invited banks, other financial institutions and the real estate sector to use its interest subsidy scheme for construction of affordable houses for urban poor, reports PTI.

"There is a need for credit enhancement through appropriate fiscal, legal and institutional mechanism to ensure the flow of capital to realise the vision of slum free India," housing and urban poverty alleviation minister Kumari Selja said here on the occasion of World Habitat Day.

The theme of the World Habitat Day for this year is "Better city Better life".

"I invite all the stakeholders particularly the banks, financing institutions and the real estate sector to come forward to make use of the opportunities offered by our schemes such as Interest Subsidy Scheme for Housing the Urban Poor and the Scheme for Affordable Housing in Partnership and to work hand-in-hand to find viable solutions which make a positive lasting impact on our cities," she said.

The urban population is expected to increase manifold in the next two decades. In the absence of proper homes, people are forced to reside in inhabitable and often unsafe places.

According to the ministry, the total urban housing shortage was 24.71 lakh as on 2007.

Seeking ways to deal with housing shortage, she said, "The housing deficit cannot be addressed only by government programmes. A strategy is required which converts the housing shortage into a market opportunity and mobilises private investments."

Lamenting that urban poor face financial exclusion, she said, "Financial institutions are reluctant to lend to the lower income segments in view of perceived credit risks, lack of credit history and difficulties in foreclosure of loans.

This outlook requires a change," the minister added.

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