BUSINESS

Kalam suggests housing subsidy for the poor

INSIGHT INTO CONSTRUCTION: President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam lighting the lamp, along with Associate Professor, Ho Peng Kee (second from right), Senior Minister of State for Law & Home Affairs, Singapore, Montek Singh Ahluwalia (right), Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, and G. V. Ramakrishna, Chairman Emeritus, CIDC, at a conference in New Delhi on Wednesday.

INSIGHT INTO CONSTRUCTION: President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam lighting the lamp, along with Associate Professor, Ho Peng Kee (second from right), Senior Minister of State for Law & Home Affairs, Singapore, Montek Singh Ahluwalia (right), Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, and G. V. Ramakrishna, Chairman Emeritus, CIDC, at a conference in New Delhi on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: PHOTO: SHANKER CHAKRAVARTY

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam on Wednesday exhorted the construction industry to take up a societal mission to provide dwelling units costing not more than Rs. 1 lakh for the needy in urban and rural areas and wanted the Government to step in by arranging subsidies and hassle-free bank loans for them.

"The cost of a two-room dwelling unit should not exceed Rs. 1 lakh, part of which could be subsidised by the Government and the remaining through the provision of hassle-free bank loans,'' Mr. Kalam said while inaugurating an international conference on IT application in the construction sector, hosted by the Construction Industry Development Council.

He suggested that the Government revisited the existing scheme, under which a sum of Rs. 30,000 is being provided for such housing units, and raise the amount to at least Rs. 1 lakh.

Underlining the need for competing the infrastructure projects in a mission mode, the President said, "I understand that on an average at any point of time, Rs. 50,000-crore worth of buildings and infrastructure are in the partially complete stage due to never ending litigations.

"To me it appears like the non-performing asset experienced by our banking system.''

He said the Construction Industry Arbitration Association (CIAA) launched on Wednesday should enable reduction of non-performing assets of the industry to near zero within the next five years.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said inadequacy of infrastructure could prove to be a constraint in achieving a nine per cent economic growth rate.

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