Request for concessions for home buyers

New Delhi, Feb. 14: House-hunters, time to get cracking.

For those planning to buy a house, the coming financial year could be a good one to look forward to. Provided, of course, the finance ministry is willin'.

The housing ministry has proposed a slew of tax concessions for home buyers and the construction sector, which supports over 200 related industries.

For one, the ministry has suggested raising the tax exemption ceiling by Rs 50,000 for those who take housing loans.

Now, under Section 24 B of the Income Tax Act, a maximum of Rs 1.5 lakh can be deducted from the taxable income of a person who has taken a housing loan.

The ministry has proposed that this ceiling be increased to Rs 2 lakh in the financial year 2013-14.

Another concession the ministry has mooted is tax relief on income from rents.

The suggestions have come at a time studies have revealed a shortage of 18.78 million dwelling units. The most hard-pressed are the economically weaker sections (EWS) and those in the low-income group (LIG) as these categories of homes account for more than 96 per cent of the deficit.

According to studies by the McKinsey Global Institute, the housing shortage could go up to 38 million units by 2030.

The economic think tank has also pointed out that taxes and fees account for approximately 27 per cent of the final cost of an EWS or LIG dwelling unit.

The ministry has proposed that the housing sector be accorded "infrastructure" status.

Under the income tax act now, infrastructure is defined as "road, bridge, airport, inland waterways and inland ports, rail system or any other public facility of a similar nature as may be notified".

If the housing sector, which accounts for about 5 per cent of the GDP, is accorded infrastructure status, it would help developers get a host of tax concessions and also allow them to seek loans from foreign countries. "If more money pours into the sector, the cost of houses will automatically come down," said a senior official.

The ministry has also proposed service tax exemption for all affordable housing projects.

Since housing loans are easily available for the middle classes, the average age of a middle-class house owner has come down by 20 years over the past decade.

So that the urban poor also benefit, the ministry has suggested increasing the loan ceiling from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh for this category.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On Now: Kolkata vs Bangalore

On Now: Kolkata vs Bangalore

IPL 7, GAME 11—Aaron's spell restricts Kolkata to 150-7. More »

Kolkata bowling vs Bangalore batting might

Kolkata bowling vs Bangalore batting might

The likely return of Gayle will boost Bangalore, but the result could be determined by Kolkata's bowlers. More »

Boycotting IPL will not save cricket

Boycotting IPL will not save cricket

Boycotting the IPL as a means of protest against the grime in the game may not yield the desired results. More »

Gambhir a knock away from striking form - KKR coach

Gambhir a knock away from striking form - KKR coach

Gautam made an eight-ball duck in the opening game against Mumbai and in the second game against Delhi, he lasted only half those balls. More »

Rivals say Srini group delaying BCCI special general meeting

Rivals say Srini group delaying BCCI special general meeting

The group opposed to Srinivasan alleged that since BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel belongs to the president’s group, he was intentionally delaying the SGM… More »

April 24: A legend is born

As Sachin Tendulkar turns 41 - here's a look at some offbeat moments from the Master Blaster's innings. More »

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

IPL 7, GAME 10—Chennai beat Rajasthan by 7 runs after last-over scare. More »

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

... because, as recent events reveal, the BCCI has little intention of doing it. More »

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

Sri Lanka depart for assignments in Ireland and England in two weeks, and Sanath Jayasuriya suggested Marvan Atapattu would be interim head coach for those… More »

Vithanage, Priyanjan get T20 call-ups

Vithanage, Priyanjan get T20 call-ups

Herath has been rested, while the team will be without the veteran pair of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who retired from T20 internationals… More »

Chandimal axed as T20 captain

Chandimal axed as T20 captain

Sri Lanka's cricket selectors on Wednesday sacked Dinesh Chandimal as Twenty20 captain and replaced him with Lasith Malinga, while Angelo Mathews was… More »

'BCCI should have picked panel with care'

'BCCI should have picked panel with care'

Dalmiya said that it was the first time that the BCCI had been faced with a situation where the apex court had hauled up the Board and it should have acted… More »

Farbrace is England's assistant coach

Farbrace is England's assistant coach

The ECB continued the restructuring of the England coaching set-up on Wednesday by announcing the appointment of Paul Farbrace as assistant coach. More »

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

Mukul Mudgal has communicated to the court his willingness to take up the investigation and has been asked to specify the terms and modalities on April… More »

Sri Lanka players resolve pay dispute

Sri Lanka players resolve pay dispute

The pay dispute between Sri Lanka Cricket and its 13 contracted players ended on Wednesday when the latter agreed to accept 10 percent of the participation… More »

Hope to be fit for next game - Pietersen

Hope to be fit for next game - Pietersen

With two heavy defeats at the hands of Bangalore and Chennai, Daredevils currently languish near the bottom of the table. More »

'SC decision could hurt BCCI's status'

'SC decision could hurt BCCI's status'

The Supreme Court prefers that the Justice Mudgal panel further investigate the IPL corruption scandal. More »

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

The Mukul Mudgal probe committee dropped a bombshell in the Supreme Court on Tuesday by making a sensational claim that it was forced to stop audio recording… More »

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

IPL7, GAME 9—Maxwell (95, 43b), Balaji (4-13) set up 72-run win. More »

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Money talks, but it is in light of this ICC shakeup that the ECB's act of soliciting of another team's coach deteriorates from free-market aggression to… More »

Farbrace quits for England post

Farbrace quits for England post

He will assist Peter Moores who was unveiled as the new England coach on Saturday. More »

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Pakistan on Monday reappointed Moin Khan as chief selector and manager of the national team, a week after fellow former captain Rashid Latif turned down… More »

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

IPL7, MATCH 8—Raina-led middle order, superlative catching give CSK a 93-run win. More »

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

The former BCCI president says he was "disillusioned" by the happenings at the emergent working committee meeting on Sunday. More »