$5-trillion economy achievable, but focus should be on employment generation: Assocham chief Hiranandani

Garima Singh New Delhi | Updated on December 24, 2019 Published on December 23, 2019

Niranjan Hiranandani, President, Assocham   -  Bijoy Ghosh

Niranjan Hiranandani, a real estate tycoon and co-founder and Managing Director of Hiranandani Group, has taken charge as President of industry body Assocham when the economy is faced with significant slowdown and several headwinds. He spoke to BusinessLine on his priorities for the coming months, status of real-estate sector and $5 trillion economy. Excerpts:

What will be your priorities at Assocham for the next few months?

In the past, we have had talks with the government on the stressed assets and creation of affordable housing stock and there has been progress happening in these two areas. But, there’s lack of liquidity in the entire system which is affecting various sectors and we need to address it. Apart from this, we would also urge the government to announce one-time rollover for the purposes of outstanding loans at the discretion of the banks. Lastly, the recommendation would be to have a cut in the GST rate to create demand in the market.

What are your views on the last-mile funding support announced recently by the government for stalled housing projects? And, the status of private participation in last mile funding?

It’s a positive move. The government very clearly said that all the positive net worth projects would come under it. And luckily, 2/3rd of the stressed projects fall under this category, so, I am very bullish on the announcement of the last-mile funding.

As far as private participation is concerned, it is happening though volumes are not high. So far, as many as 19 private funds are looking forward to invest in this.

What can be done to instil a sense of confidence on the real estate sector among the prospective home buyers?

There’s greater confidence among them because of RERA and more number of ready-to-move flats are available now which is a major change. For instance, we used to sell around 10-15 per cent flats in ready-to-move condition but now we are selling 35-40 per cent of the flats in this segment.

Do you think the target of $5-trillion economy by 2024-25 is achievable?

There’s no problem in achieving it. However, besides $5-trillion economy, we want to see that employment is also generated. We don’t only want to achieve $5-trillion economy without employment opportunities coming in. It will have no meaning if there’s no employment generation.

What are your expectations from the upcoming Budget?

We are hopeful on the announcement around rental housing and reduction of individual (personal) income tax rate.

Published on December 23, 2019
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