Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Rahul Gandhi attacks Modi Government’s Real Estate Regulatory Bill. Is he right??

Author: Sachin Gupta | Find me on Twitter

Real Estate Regulatory Authority Bill is facing tough resistance from the Congress Party. Congress Party Vice President has taken up the cause of middle class home buyers. Congress Party is of the view that the bill in its current state is anti-home-buyer and pro builder.

Last Saturday 2nd May 2015, about 200 home buyers who have grievances against builders met Mr. Rahul Gandhi at Congress Headquarters. The problems highlighted by home-buyers ranged from delay in deliveries of flats to shortchanging by the developers.

Congress opines that some amendments to their bill have been made which are pro-builders (Read here about Real Estate Regulatory Bill 2013 passed by Congress Government).

  1. Definition of Carpet area has been changed. As per the bill passed by the Congress party, carpet area was ‘net usable area’ in an apartment, excluding the walls. Now, it has been amended and the ‘net usable area’ will be ‘rent-able area’ as defined in National Building Code 2005 or its later versions.
  2. In the bill passed by Congress government, builders were not allowed to change the sanctioned plan once it was approved. Now it has been amended and minor changes are allowed by informing the buyer. 
  3. In the bill passed by the Congress government, it was difficult to get extensions on project deadlines. However, it has been amended now and builder can seek extensions‘…due to force majeure or under such conditions as may be prescribed, which may include issue of completion certificate, approvals etc. without default on the part of promoter…’
  4. In the bill passed by Congress government, a builder had to keep 70% of the money collected from home-buyers for the project. Now it has been amended to 50%.

Well, the points made by the Congress party are certainly in the interest of the home-buyers. However, we need to look at the whole picture comprising of Home-buyers, builders, and authorities.

Let’s take an analogy. A car comprises of fuel injection mechanism and exhaust mechanism. Fuel goes in the engine and burns and produces emissions. If fuel is of good quality and is mixed appropriately, then, we have a complete combustion and there are no toxic emissions.

As things stand today in real estate sector, we won’t get the solution if we focus only on the exhaust side. Because make no mistake, howsoever, we may try to fix the problem at the exhaust side, we won’t get the solution. There will always be toxic elements.

What we need to do is ‘fix the problem at the Fuel intake side’. And that means, taking into consideration all stakeholders including the builders, home-buyers, and authorities.

What are the ingredients for ‘Good quality of Fuel’ at the intake stage?

  1. Make Land acquisition process smooth and transparent.
  2. Digitize land records in order to eliminate title disputes.
  3. Single window clearances for realty projects. As things stand today, a developer has to take 40-60 approvals depending on the state. This whole process of taking approvals delays the project and increases the cost. By some estimates, project cost will come down by 20% if we have a single window clearance mechanism in place.
  4. Independence agencies to inspect the project during construction phase in order to make sure that project is being constructed as per the ‘National Building Code’.

Having the right Fuel at the intake stage will make sure that construction of the project is smooth and on time. There won’t be any discrepancies.


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