The creation of 100 smart cities and reducing interest rates on home loans to ensure housing for all will be the focus of the new Urban Development and Housing and Poverty Alleviation Minister (HUPA) Venkaiah Naidu. The Urban Development Ministry will also give priority to the linking of twin cities, infrastructure development of satellite towns and cleaning of religious cities across the country.
"Housing is a priority area and it is my passion. My priority will be to ensure housing for all by 2020 and to reduce interest rate on home loans," Naidu said on Wednesday in Delhi after assuming charge of UD and HUPA ministries. He said that during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime, the interest rate was brought down from 11% to 7%. Now it has gone beyond 10%.
Terming "affordable housing for all by 2020" scheme as his "most favourable agenda", Naidu said, "People of the country should be in a position to have 'pucca' houses for each one of them. It is not an easy job. But is possible. We have to make serious efforts for it. Seeking cooperation from corporates, he said, "I want PPP, CSR and corporates to take care of their staff in housing. We want state governments to participate in it. Municipal bodies also should join us in this mission for housing for all. "I also want PSUs like LIC, banks, railways, even Defence to not only take care of their serving persons but also their ex-staff also." He said he would be taking up the issue with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley soon.
With the NDA assuming power, the JNNURM, one of the flagship programmes of the UPA government, is coming to an end and there will be a new programme to develop infrastructure in cities, he said.