Budget 2020 India: The Indian economy is in the throes of a slow-down, and could be doing better. For that hope to become a reality, industries across the economy, including land , expect various positive incentives from the upcoming Budget 2020. Usually, before each budget, different industries have their ‘wish-list’ of changes that would make life easier, in form of lesser levies and more exemptions. This time, real estate has a simple suggestion: give us the opportunity to play our role in terms of economic growth which will result in not just creating shelter but also creation of jobs, support 269-plus ancillary industries as also positively impact GDP growth. Hopefully, the Budget will chart out fresh stimulus in terms of bold fiscal measures for land sector to outperform its growth traction.

Globally, land growth and infrastructure development power economic revivals. The Indian scenario is one where the govt is already performing on infrastructure creation by economic boosters. All it needs now's a push which will boost land . The Indian Government has understood the challenges faced by real estate since the tsunamis of economic reforms and it has come up with various initiatives aimed at solving the challenges. Unfortunately, these measures have largely been piece-meal, what Indian land looks forward to during this Budget may be a holistic set of solutions which can unshackle land and give it a free run to reinforce GDP growth.

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This time around, timing is crucial – the festive season through 2019 witnessed enhanced demand for land as compared to the previous two years, the potential for growth in sales in the near future is immense. The shackles that bind real estate include the liquidity crisis, need to redefine focus on affordable housing, incentivize rental housing and rationalization of taxation to be specific. While the industry is optimistic about the initiatives which the Indian Government has introduced, it is calling out for a wider sweep which would help free it from the shackles that hold it back present day.

To begin with, it starts with the common man – the home buyer. If personal taxation rates are reduced, in a manner similar to what was done for corporate taxation recently, it will create a disposable surplus in the hands of the citizen. So, it starts with lowering of personal taxation rates; enhancing tax benefits on repaying home loans which again, should be made available at lower rates of interest. Plus, relaxation of LTV norms so that 90 per cent of all-inclusive prices of homes would be eligible for a home loan. Reduction in stamp duty by 50 per cent for all real estate transactions registered on or before 31st March 2020 has the potential to induce fence-sitters to turn into the actual home buyers, thus spurring demand and consumption.

We have seen how bad the impact of liquidity crisis has been across different sectors. Real estate has been facing challenges during this regard, including the NBFC crisis, which has resulted in stalled and delayed projects – the stressed assets problem. Given that Indian land Industry is facing serious challenges associated with liquidity crunch, this Budget must usher in bold fiscal measures which might help the industry get back on the growth track. These can include restructuring of loans or a one-time roll-over just in case of the stressed assets, which may be done at the choice of banks. Also, measures that ensure ‘last mile funding’ happen. This will ensure that home seekers who have bought home in such projects ultimately get their homes; the NBFCs and home finance companies are not stuck with NPAs, jobs in such companies remain safe – and as a result, the economic process moves into higher gear. Proposals that would boost rental housing as also redefining affordable housing so that homes in Mumbai and the MMR as also NCR can avail the benefits of various government initiatives which in turn would boost home sales.

Real estate expects support from the Budget to be ready to play its role in GDP growth. Real estate needs support in the form of revised norms for loans to real estate developers. If land gets a lift , it'll positively impact the economy as also GDP growth, and NAREDCO hopes that the upcoming budget shall encapsulate major positive measures for one of the core sectors for economic growth acceleration.

(The author is National President, NAREDCO and Founder MD, Hiranandani Group. The views expressed are the author’s own)