The Union Minister of State(I/C) Housing and Urban Affairs, Shri Hardeep Singh Puri has said that the NDA government at the centre is committed to provide positive solution to the problems of home buyers, so that they get their home as soon as possible. Addressing a function “Real Estate: Opportunities to Challenges to” organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here today, Shri Puri said India’s gigantic urban initiative is not only a thrust of infrastructure investment but also combining the attainment of social indices and environmental objectives along the way.
The Minister during his address pointed out that the matter of the affected home buyers is also being heard by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and it asked NBCC, a PSU to find out the feasibility of completing the incomplete projects of Amrapali, so that thousands of home buyers can get their houses as soon as possible. Though NBCC prayed for 45 days’ time, the Hon’ble Supreme Court granted 30 days’ time to NBCC to undertake study and work-out the detailed plan for early implementation of incomplete housing projects of Amrapali. NBCC is in the process of finalizing the detailed report as directed by the Apex Court before the next date of hearing, which has been fixed for 4th September, 2018.
As Minister In-charge for Housing and Urban Affairs, “I realize the gravity of the prevailing housing problem. The State Government of U.P constituted a High-Powered Committee under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Housing & Urban Affairs, Govt of India to examine the issues and propose some viable solutions to the problem being faced by the home buyers. Similar type of problems are being faced by the home buyers in Gurugram. The Government of Haryana has also approached my Ministry to suggest a solution by constituting a High-Powered Committee under the Chairmanship of the Secretary, Housing and Urban Affairs”, he added.
The Minister outlined that construction sector is the second largest in terms of employment after agriculture and plays a vital role not only in the economy of the country but in the lives of the people in helping them in attaining their dream of a home of their own. He said the country had no regulator for the real estate sector for nearly 70 years after it gained independence, and added that the year 2016 will reveal that year to be a seminal one as that was the year when the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 was enacted by the NDA Government under the leadership of Shri Narendra Modi as Prime Minister. He said, the year 2016 changed the real estate sector forever and defined the dawn of the post RERA era. The Minister said that RERA is characterized by trust, rules, regulations and regulatory oversight as opposed to the pre-2016 period which essentially was one of mistrust, fraud, cheating and broken promises.
Shri Hardeep Singh Puri said, had RERA been in place, say, 20 or even 10 years ago, consumers would not have had to knock on the doors of the judiciary, as the stringent provisions of RERA would have ensured an eco-system that would have prevented the entry of ‘fly by night’ operators. He said, we now have a Government that believes in bold and radical reforms. He said, it is a Government that is determined to bring about a change in the lives of the honest tax payer. The Minister said, we will and are urging, encouraging and persuading the States to set up the regulatory apparatus envisioned under RERA, speedily.
Shri Puri said, the Real Estate Act fills the existing gap between the Development/Municipal laws and the Apartment Ownership Act, and is intended to regulate transactions (buying and selling) and enforcement of contracts. He added 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. He emphasised that the Act attempts to balance the interests of the consumers and the developers by imposing clear responsibilities on both, seeks to establish symmetry of information between the promoter and the purchaser; transparency of contractual conditions; set minimum standards of accountability; and a fast-track dispute resolution mechanism. He pointed out that 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. He also outlined various benefits and advantages that RERA has brought about in its wake.
The Minister informed that after taking charge of the ministry in September 2017, one of the first steps taken was to write to the Corporate Affairs Ministry to confer the status of ‘financial creditors’ on home buyers. The dialogue with that Ministry has finally resulted in another path breaking amendment to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), he added. Shri Puri explained that the amendment provides the homebuyer the status of a ‘financial creditor’, a move that will allow him to initiate Insolvency proceedings on par with of the financial institutions. He said, by empowering the homebuyer through a legislative mechanism, this Government has once again demonstrated through action that it has the best interests of the consumer and places it on the highest pedestal.
Shri Puri also spoke about several other initiatives by the Housing and Urban Development Ministry, that includes fiscal measures (lower GST rates for affordable housing), tax concessions(relief under Section 80 IBA),programmatic interventions(PMAY; higher carpet area for leveraging CLSS for the MIG),Policy interventions(‘Infrastructure’ status for Affordable housing) and higher Budgetary allocations like (i) setting up of a dedicated Affordable Housing Fund in National Housing Bank (NHB) to facilitate refinance for Private Lending Institutions; and (ii) National Urban Housing Fund (NUHF) for Rs 60,000 crore through Extra Budgetary Resources. Each of these above measures will contribute to the growth of the real estate sector, he said.
Shri Hardeep Singh Puri said, “Through the various flagship programmes of the Ministry, we are building 1 crore houses, more than 70 lakh individual and Community toilets, 100 Smart Cities and a comprehensive Mission to cover 500 Class-I cities with the civic infrastructure to provide for water tap connections and sewerage lines, the Minister added. He said, all these are being achieved without compromising on environmental concerns but on the contrary, by adopting a conscious approach that places a premium on building green and resilient structures, use of new and alternate construction technologies in the construction of houses, locally available eco-friendly materials suited to local climatic conditions are being encouraged, reducing not only the cost of construction but also the resultant carbon footprint.
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