Adding momentum to the affordable housing segment, the government will give a benefit of Rs. 2.4 lakh to first-time home buyers with taxable income below Rs.18 lakh a year and the scheme becoming effective from January 1, 2017 is being notified shortly, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Secretary Nandita Chatterjee said, elaborating that the this would be a game-changer for the sector. As a matter of fact, the amount is equivalent to the total interest subsidy over a 20-year loan and will be given upfront to the housing financing company through nodal agencies such as National Housing Bank and Hudco to reduce the outstanding loan. For a 15-year loan, the value of the benefit would be Rs. 2.2 lakh. Commenting on the emerging scenario, PNB Housing Managing Director, Sanjaya Gupta said that this would make projects affordable as EMI fall and echoing this viewpoint. CEO of ASK Property Investment Advisors, Amit Bhagat, said that the move will increase the affordability and eligibility of more than 90% home buyers as taxable income of Rs.18 lakh is significantly on the higher side.