Housing sector shortage close to 10 million units will be addressed through the Pradhan Mantri AwasYojana (PMAY) Urban. This was stated by Hardeep S Puri, Minister of State, Housing and Urban Affairs, while speaking at the RICS Real Estate Conference on 'Policy, Reform and Regulation: The Backbone of Indian Real Estate' in New Delhi today. Puri was referring to a technical study conducted in 2011 which placed the housing shortage at 18.76 million in urban areas, of which 96% is in the EWS segment and the rest in LIG housing. The minister said that subsequent assessments led to a revision of this figure and in the final analysis, the shortage is likely to be around or in excess of 10 million units, which is aimed to be addressed through the flagship programme \u2013 PMAY Urban - of the Government of India. He said that the thrust of the mission has been to make available housing for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS), Lower Income Groups (LIG) and also the MIG (Middle Income Group), by harnessing government land. \u201cWe have also released various PPP models to encourage housing through private partnership. Among the distinctive features of this scheme are that the government will make available the land and in addition provide a subsidy to each allottee and assist in obtaining easy financing from banks for the remaining sum required. The house will be in the name of the lady individually or co-jointly with the male member of the family. This will help gender empowerment. It will have a kitchen and a toilet and serve to help foster security of the girl child,\u201d he added. Stressing the importance of the housing sector, the minister said that it plays a catalytic role in fulfilling the demand for housing and infrastructure in the country, and is the second largest sector after agriculture providing employment to 6.86% of the workforce in the country. While the sector has grown significantly in recent years, it has largely been unregulated, with absence of professionalism and standardization, and lack of adequate consumer protection. It has also largely been opaque, with consumers often unable to procure complete information, or enforce accountability against builders and developers in the absence of effective regulation. The biggest fallout affecting the sector is delay in project completion; diversion of funds collected from buyers; one-sided contracts in the absence of adequate supply; reneging on contractual commitments by both the developers and the buyers; and constraints in financing and investment options available to the sector, thereby affecting its long-term growth. Referring to RERA, he observed that the Act upholds the spirit of federalism by allowing the states to set up the Regulatory Authority and the Appellate Tribunal, and the role of the Central government is limited to Union Territories without legislature. The Act is aimed at consumer protection, by creating an online system for information sharing so that there is mutual trust between the developer and the buyers, and projects are implemented in time.