The National Housing Bank (NHB), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reserve Bank of India, is looking at a disbursal of Rs 4,000 crore for rural housing during the current financial year, a growth of 33 per cent over the previous year. Last year, NHB disbursed Rs 3,003 crore under the Rural Housing Fund (RHF) to primary lending institutions in 2011-12, a top official said. “The finance minister in his budget speech for 2012-13 has announced enhancement of funds under RHF. This will encourage the provision of housing finance to target groups in rural areas, a step towards mitigating the housing shortage in rural areas among the target groups,” R V Verma, Chairman and Managing Director, NHB, said. Speaking at the inauguration of a national conference on ‘Rural Housing and Housing Finance’, organized by NHB, here on Saturday, he said since the establishment of Rural Housing Fund in 2008-09, a total amount of Rs 8,778.18 crore has been received by NHB under the Fund. While, the disbursals have touched Rs 8,784 crore towards refinance for rural housing for the targeted segments benefiting 336,000 dwelling units. As per the Working Group on Rural Housing for the 12th five year plan, the total housing shortage in rural areas is estimated at 48.81 million for the plan period (2012-17). Of these, about 43.93 million units pertain to the below poverty line (BPL) population. Besides the rural housing shortage, a large percentage of the houses in rural areas are semi-permanent and Katcha, lacking access to basic services like drinking water, sanitation and electricity.
NHB extends financial assistance through refinance and also the project finance window. The refinance assistance provided to various primary lending institutions like banks, housing finance companies, cooperative sector institutions towards their individual housing loans. During 2011-12, 82.47 per cent of the bank’s disbursements were made in respect of individual housing loans of up to Rs 25 lakh of which 34.11 per cent of loans were disbursed in respect of housing loans up to Rs 5 lakh underlying Bank’s focus on low and affordable housing. Inaugurating the conference, union minister of state for finance, Namo Narian Meena said there is a need for both Central and state governments to join hands and work in partnership for funding rural housing sector. “We need a combination of both policy framework and financing options to help the rural poor to build their dwelling units. To achieve the desired targets in the 12th plan, we need to design new financing products,” he said. The banking systems, cooperative housing societies and regional rural banks should be properly incentivised and also involve the informal sector to achieve the goal during the 12th plan period, he added. The one-day conference witnessed attendance of senior bankers, CMDs of Canara Bank, Vijaya Bank and Syndicate Bank and chief general manager of Nabard among others.
Source: Business Standard
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