Various taxes relating to real estate should be rationalised for affordable housing projects in order to tackle the rapid pace of urbanisation in the Indian cities, according to a survey conducted by accountancy firm Grant Thornton and CII.

“In view of the phenomenal pace of urbanisation, residential real estate ought to be made affordable to accommodate the ever-increasing immigration into our urban centres,” Grant Thornton India National Managing Partner Vishesh C Chandiok said in a statement.

Pointing out that Indian cities will be short of more than 35 million housing units by 2012, Chandiok said that changes in the tax structure shall be the key to incentivise and promote affordable housing projects in the country.

As many as 63% respondents in the survey believe that “rationalising various direct and indirect taxes under registration of property act, income tax act and service tax is imperative to promote affordable housing and prevent an impending urban crisis”.

The respondents comprised of real estate professionals, government officials, architects, planners and academicians.

“Turning around the state of Indian cities requires immaculate planning, efficient governance and focus on developing quality infrastructure. A number of countries such as China, South Africa, Malaysia and others have been successful in transforming their cities with this approach,” Chandiok said.

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