Realty players want industry status for the sector

Property consultants and real estate developers have demanded industry status to the realty sector in the forthcoming Budget. They have also sought incentives to promote affordable housing segment and an increase in the tax exemption on home loans

New Delhi: Property consultants and real estate developers have demanded industry status to the realty sector in the forthcoming Budget, reports PTI.

They have also sought incentives to promote affordable housing segment and an increase in the tax exemption on home loans.

To boost supply, they have also asked for a single-window clearance for real estate development projects and foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail to create demand for retail space in shopping malls.

“Grant industry status to real estate, since the sector is a major driver for economic growth and generates countless jobs across its various verticals and associated industries,” global property consultant Jones Lang LaSalle India chairman and country head Anuj Puri said.

He also pitched for relaxing norms for repatriation of FDI in real estate to attract more investment in the sector.

One per cent interest rate subsidy provided by the government for loans towards affordable housing should be “amplified and broadened” to include a wider price band of budget housing to benefit home buyers.

Expressing similar views, another property consultant DTZ said that the ceiling of housing loans eligible to priority sector lending should be raised in view of high property rate.

That apart, DTZ suggested increase in tax exemption on home loans to stimulate end user demand, particularly for mid-range housing.

“Principal repayments should be treated as a separate tax exemption entity and excluded from benefits under section 80C... Deductions towards the total interest payable on the home loan should also be increased from existing cap of Rs1.5 lakh,” it added. 

Currently, an individual is entitled to claim both the interest and principal components of home loan repayments for tax benefits. The ceiling under tax benefits is capped at Rs1.5 lakh towards the total interest payable on the home loan and Rs1 lakh for principal paid.

Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI) requested the government to incentivise affordable housing segment and address the issue of high land cost and taxation issues.

“The prices of houses in urban areas are becoming unaffordable by the day under the onslaught of high land prices, rising cost of construction and high taxation... We would like the FM to re-introduce some measure like the erstwhile 80I(B) to give tax exemption for affordable housing,” CREDAI NCR president Pankaj Bajaj said.

The National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO) has asked for creation of a dedicated fund.

“We are requesting the government to create a dedicated affordable housing fund, in line with infrastructure fund, only to develop housing for the weaker section of the society,” NAREDCO president Navin M Raheja said.

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors managing director (South Asia) Sachin Sandhir said the Budget should consider incentives and benefits for large scale residential townships and the definition of infrastructure should be broadened to include townships of 100 acres or more.

“To encourage private investment capital, the government should seek to catalyse private investment and operations into all infrastructure sectors through the participation of long term sources of capital such as insurance, pension funds and bond markets, which have investible surplus,” he added.

CHD Developers chief operating officer Ravi Saund asked the government to create a ‘Real Estate Regulatory Authority’ to introduce transparency in the sector and enact the Model Real Estate (Regulations & Development) Act.

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Govt stops lifting of imported DAP, MoP from ports

With government deciding to lower subsidy level for the next fiscal on these soil nutrients, sources pointed out that fertiliser firms intend to claim subsidy on the 4 lakh tonnes of imported quantity in the current year itself even as there is a poor demand of fertiliser at present

New Delhi: The Centre has asked fertiliser firms not to lift imported nutrients, especially potash and DAP, scheduled to reach ports in February and March, due to poor demand, a move that could save up to Rs1,000 crore in the subsidy bill of this fiscal, reports PTI.

In a recent order, the fertiliser ministry said that it has been decided that “di-ammonium phosphate (DAP), muriate of potash (MoP) and complex fertilisers except urea arriving during the months of February and March will not be dispatched from ports to any state till further orders”.

As the government has decided to cut subsidy on these fertilisers for the next fiscal, the decision could help the department in saving up to Rs1,000 crore in the subsidy bill of this fiscal, sources said, adding that about 4 lakh tonne of nutrients are expected to reach ports in these two months.

The ministry disburses subsidy to fertiliser companies on the actual sale receipt basis. Major importers are IFFCO, PPL, Chambal Fertilisers and Indian Potash.

With government deciding to lower subsidy level for the next fiscal on these soil nutrients, sources pointed out that fertiliser firms intend to claim subsidy on the 4 lakh tonnes of imported quantity in the current year itself even as there is a poor demand of fertiliser at present.

The government is giving a subsidy of Rs19,763 per tonne on DAP and Rs16,054 a tonne on MoP in this fiscal. However, it has decided to slash the subsidy on DAP to Rs15,263/tonne and Rs15,000 a tonne on MoP in view of bearish global prices.

In the directive to importers, the ministry has said that fertilisers available till beginning of this month would be dispatched during February and March and asked companies to comply with this order strictly.

“The demand has come down significantly in last few months due to high prices of DAP and MoP. It is expected that there may not be any increase in demand in February and March.

So, it makes no sense to allow sale of imported products in February-March,” a senior fertiliser ministry official said.

The official noted that there is already a stock of 5 million tonnes of potassium and phosphatic fertilisers, which is more than sufficient to meet the demand for two months.

The subsidy bill on non-urea fertilisers is expected to increase to about Rs70,500 crore this fiscal from about Rs61,100 crore a year earlier.

After the decontrol of non-urea fertilisers, DAP and MoP prices have more than doubled to Rs20,000 a tonne and Rs12,000 a tonne, respectively.

India imports almost half of its requirement of DAP and almost entire requirement of MoP.

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M-cap of 5 blue-chips falls Rs20,000 crore; SBI leads the decline

SBI’s, the country’s largest lender market capitalisation (m-cap), dropped by Rs13,332 crore to Rs1,40,131 crore. Shares of the company had plunged by over 8% last week on concerns over its exposure to cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines and reports of public sector lender giving fresh loans to the debt-ridden carrier

Mumbai: Led by a steep decline in State Bank of India’s (SBI) market value on concerns over its exposure to Kingfisher Airlines, the combined market capitalisation of five of the top 10 blue-chip companies eroded by Rs20,409.84 crore, reports PTI.

SBI’s, the country’s largest lender market capitalisation (m-cap), dropped by Rs13,332 crore to Rs1,40,131 crore. Shares of the company had plunged by over 8% last week on concerns over its exposure to cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines and reports of public sector lender giving fresh loans to the debt-ridden carrier.

State-run NTPC’s m-cap also dipped by Rs3,422 crore to Rs1,51,304 crore, while Bharti Airtel’s worth declined by Rs2,753 crore to Rs1,29,989 crore last week.

HDFC Bank saw an erosion of Rs712.84 crore from its value which was at Rs1,22,755.16 crore, while IT major Infosys lost Rs190 crore from its m-cap which stood at Rs1,69,239 crore at close on last Friday.

In contrast, corporate leader Reliance Industries, IT bellwether TCS, state-owned ONGC, Coal India and FMCG giant ITC reported gains in market value.

Market worth of Reliance Industries surged by Rs802 crore to Rs2,68,625 crore, while TCS added Rs7,917 crore to its m-cap which stood at Rs2,48,400 crore as on Friday last week.

ONGC’s wealth went up by Rs2,524 crore to Rs2,43,189 crore, while CIL added Rs1,516 crore taking its valuation to Rs2,06,703 crore and ITC’s value climbed Rs3,237 crore to Rs1,63,375 crore.

In the broader market, the BSE barometer Sensex fell by about 2% to end the week at 17,923.57 points.

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