Union Urban Development Minister, Mr. KAMAL NATH, Youthful and Dynamic leader says that the challenge of rapid urbanization poses severe challenges for the development of the nation. It can be met only through innovative thinking coupled with the PPP Initiative . The Ministry of Urban Development is constantly working towards strengthening urban infrastructure along with fast track reforms to be carried out by the Urban local bodies .
In an Exclusive Interview to Editor, Real Estate Observer YOGESH SOOD Union Urban Development Minister, Mr. Kamal Nath dwelt on various policy initiatives that his Ministry has undertaken in a short span of time.

Q1: You have recently taken the reins of the Ministry. What are your plans to upgrade the system of Urban Development?
A: The vision of the Ministry is to facilitate creation of economically, vibrant, inclusive, efficient and sustainable urban habitats. Consistent with the vision, our Mission is to promote cities as engines of economic growth through improvement in the quality of urban life by facilitating creation of quality urban infrastructure, with assured service levels and efficient governance.
               To this end, we have identified certain areas for the next Five years. These objectives aimed at facilitating creation of basic urban infrastructure include urban transport to improve service levels and coverage by 2017; creating enabling policy environment for efficient and inclusive urban governance; facilitating implementation of urban sector reforms under JNNURM ; capacity building of key stakeholders including elected representatives; facilitating planned development of the NCR.
All these are geared to focus on faster and inclusive growth in the 12th Plan as this period would witness private sector led growth through PPP models.
  1. Urban strategies and Responsive Urban Planning
  2. Urban Governance
  3. Measures to address Urban Poverty
  4. Urban Transport
  5. Urban Environment
  6. Urban Finance
  7. Capacity Building
Q2: Urban Development and Realty sector have witnessed a huge boom during the last one decade and in recent times seeing a comeback. What has been your Ministry’s biggest achievement during the year 2010?
A: In India, the need and demand for both housing and infrastructure is enormous. The magnitude of housing shortage at the end of the Xth Plan was around 24.7 million units for 67.4 million households. Further, it was estimated that 99 % of this shortage pertains to EWS and LIG Categories. During the XIth Plan, it was estimated that the total housing requirement (including backlog) will be to the tune of 26.53 million units for 75.01 million households.
               The share of real estate as a percentage of India’s GDP has risen from 5.25 per cent to over 9 per cent from 2002 to 2007. Returns from this sector, exceed those for most other investment alternatives. Yields on commercial real estate across million plus cities in India are higher than those prevalent in global real estate markets. With this revolution over the last decade, the rise in the sector’s share of GDP marks a shift in the Indian economy and takes it closer to that of a developed economy.
               However, it is seen that the procedure for obtaining clearances is time consuming and projects often get stalled due to delay in obtaining clearances from various agencies. With continuous advocacy measures , Ministry has impressed on States to implement single window system for streamlining procedures related to building Plan sanctions.

Q3: With regard to the DDA’S Master Plan of Delhi, Coordination of work in respect to the Master Plan and slum clearance in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, what have been the latest remedial Plans? What is happening to the Regularization of the Hundred’s of illegal colonies and buildings in the NCR region?
A: Government of Delhi has created Delhi State Spatial Data Infrastructure using State of the art technology. The Baseline data for the entire NCT of Delhi is now available to coordinate work in respect of Master Plan implementation, Slum Clearance etc. As regards regularization of colonies, there are 733 unauthorized colonies in Delhi and this falls under the purview of Delhi Government.

Q4: Could you throw light on the latest International Cooperation and Technical Assistance in Town and Country Planning matters relating to the Planning and Development of metropolitan areas?
A: The Joint Working Groups on Urban Development has been set up with Government of Franc and Government of Japan to further exchange practical experiences in metropolitan de-centralization, Urban Transport, Risk Management, Governance and the role of the Local Bodies. Similar Joint Working Groups are in the offing with other countries like South Africa, Poland and Morocco etc.

Q5: In Your Opinion what is still lacking in the Real Estate Sector?
A: Real Estate Sector needs a Regulator more so to regulate the Secondary Market.

Q6: Do you think that a strong backing of real estate is imperative for the progress of Indian Economy?
A: The Growth of Real Estate Sector leads to a boom in Construction which has a multiplier effect for the economy.

Q7: What is your Ministry doing to Curtail the Land and Property mafia who have been demons for more than a decade with regard to Property Prices and Rental Charges ?
A: Land and Property are State Subjects under the Constitution. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation is working on a Model Bill for the Real Estate Sector. For Delhi, my Ministry has also been working on a draft Real Estate Bill. We are hopeful that if the Centre and States work together, the real estate market including rental markets would stabilize and common man will be benefited.

Q8: What is your message to the Realty Sector for the year 2011?
A: Realty sector has potential to contribute significantly and consistently towards India’s GDP during 2011 and beyond. The Working Groups for the 12th Plan have just been constituted and I am confident that the opportunities for the realty sector to contribute to developing urban infrastructure will come out forcefully through the Working Group deliberations.

Q9: What is your Vision 2022 for the India Realty Sector?
A: Well the most important thing is that Urbanization is very important for the country because 70 per cent of the GDP will be generated from the urban sector. Similarly 70 per cent of the new jobs will be created in the urban sector. One of the biggest challenges that the country is facing is in Urbanization and we have to strategize towards this.


What is your Life’s Mission:
My Life’s Mission is that whatever I do, I do it with honesty of purpose so that I get a sense of fulfillment.

Your Fondest Childhood Memories:
My fondest childhood memories are from school and going on holidays with my parents to the various hill stations of the country.

And Trekking:
I have done a lot of trekking and Mountaineering.

Your Favourite Dress code:
My favourite dress code was and still is always jeans.

Your Favourite Food:
I am very simple in my food habits.

Your Favourite Music:
Indian Classical Music.

Your Favourite Past time Hobby:
I have no time for hobbies but my Hobby is Reading.

Message to the Youth:
The message to the Youth is that they have the biggest stake in the future of the country. It is they who have to recognize that the future of this country depends on their intellectual abilities and their entrepreneurial skills.