Urban development in India (a government picutre)
Urban development in India (a government picutre)A government picture

To ensure housing for all by 2020, interest rates on home loans will be reduced by the Union government, M Venkaiah Naidu, the new Union Minister for Urban Development and Housing and Poverty Alleviation has said.

He explained that providing pucca homes for all is the main objective of the government, along with creation of 100 smart cities in the country. 

Providing transportation facilities between twin cities and infrastructure development for satellite towns and cleaning of religious/pilgrimage cities would also be the priority of the government. 

Apart from these, the government also plans to improve transportation in cities through metro, rapid transportation system and tram service, wherever it is feasible. 

Naidu assumed charge of the portfolio in Delhi on Wednesday and spoke about how during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government the interest rate on home loans was brought down from 11 per cent to 7 per cent. However, the rate has once again gone beyond 10 percent. 

Ensuring a home for all in the country is not an easy task, but it is achievable, the Minister explained.

For this, he sought the cooperation of private firms and corporate houses and asked them to provide housing for their staff. State governments, local municipal bodies also should take initiative in the mission of the Union government to provide housing for all people, Naidu said.

The Minister insisted that public sector undertakings such as LIC, banks, railways, and defence organisations should take up the task of providing housing for their serving staff as well as their retired staff.

Naidu will soon meet the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and discuss the matter.

He said that JNNURM, the flagship programme of the last United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, would come to an end and a new programme will be brought out in its place.

The new urban development programme will focus on latest concepts based on geographic information system (GIS) planning and cities will be cleansed through solid and liquid waste management, he added.

The Minister also said that all incomplete projects under the JNNURM that were supposed to be completed by March 2014, will now have to be completed by all the State governments.

He also revealed that 679 JNNURM projects, out of 1,339 projects, have been completed till now and ₹41,411 crore had been allocated for the remaining projects. 

For the Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Ministry skill development will be a priority area. Last year, the government had allocated ₹1,000 crore in the budget for skill development ad Gujarat has been spending ₹800 crore on the skill development programme, Naidu said.