Union urban development minister S Jaipal Reddy has advocated levying of a high conversion charge on agricultural land that will be used for non-agricultural purposes (developing townships and commercial centres).

A charge that is bound to be passed on to the customer, making property dearer. At a press conference in the Capital, Reddy said this will be over and above the internal and external development charges that the builder has to pay. "It will be up to the states to decide how high such charges should be. Conversion charges are ridiculously low in most states all over the country and this needs to change if we need to raise money for the urban poor.

The contribution that real estate developers are making to urbanization is welcome, but they should realise that they need to handle societal obligations as well. Building an elitist enclave does not serve the purpose, if we do not take care of our urban poor, most of whom are construction workers ," he said.

To make growth inclusive, the government also proposes to make it compulsory for real estate developers to build 35% of the dwelling units for the poor at their own cost, something that has already been incorporated in the Delhi Master Plan 2021.

The builder should provide 15% of the FAR/FSI of a particular project for the poor. Growth has to be inclusive and not be exclusively for the rich.
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  • I'm worried about the gobbling up of agricultural land by real estate developers. Farm land would, I guess, be away from urban and industrial areas. Which means that developers are acquiring land to build residential spaces currently far from urban zones. And buyers for that kind of property would be only investors, not end users.Which would again mean vacant flats/ houses, waiting to be sold from one buyer to another. These sales and re-sales would be lining the pockets of investors, brokers and builders.

    Shrinking agricultural land and starving farmers - is this the price we pay for "development"?
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