The Union government is planning to incentivise homebuyers and create demand in the sluggish real estate sector with a slew of measures, including a proposal by homebuyers that would marginally increase Goods and Services Tax (GST) on housing projects but bring down the overall cost, people aware of the development said on condition of anonymity. FM Nirmala Sitharaman held two separate meetings — the first with realtors’ associations, and the second with homebuyers’ groups — to discuss how to strengthen the realty sector. Homebuyers who met the minister proposed that GST on premium housing projects be increased from the existing 5% (excluding input tax credit) to 8% (including input tax credit) — a move that would eventually reduce the cost of a project substantially, said one of the persons aware of the development. The government should provide some relief either in terms of deferring EMI [equated monthly instalment] payments or provide some income tax rebate to protect consumers who are paying both rent and EMIs,” said Jayashree Swaminathan, who represented homebuyers of the Jaypee Group.