Ministry of Urban Development meets Industry on RERA

By Accommodation Times Bureau

Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation Ministry Holds National Consultation on Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill 2011

A day-long National Consultation on the Draft Real Estate (Development and Regulation) Bill was organized here today by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA). Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Culture Kumari Selja chaired the meeting. More than 100 participants from all over the country including representatives of State and Central Government Ministries and Departments, members of industry associations like CREDAI, NAREDCO, FICCI, PHD Chamber of Commerce,various Consumer Welfare Organizations and legal and technical experts participated in the meeting.

Addressing the meeting, the Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja said that the Bill attempts to carefully balance the interests of both the consumers and the developers by imposing certain clear responsibilities on both of them. She said, the Real Estate Regulator seeks to enforce public disclosure and brings in much needed transparency and accountability, while ensuring an enabling environment. The Bill also attempts at building confidence within investor and clients. Further, along with the mandatory public disclosure, the first track dispute resolution mechanism is expected to speed up delivery of justice, which would further augment credibility, and facilitate larger investments in this sector in the long run. The minister drew the attention of the participants to the fact that the setting up Regulators in the key sectors like power, telecom, banking, insurance and others has in fact been instrumental in catalyzing growth in these sectors.

Kumari Selja said that the draft bill has received more than 700 responses from various stake holders. She said, while there are differences in opinion regarding the precise modalities of the regulation, the majority have endorsed the need for a Real Estate Regulator.

Shri Arun Kumar Misra, Secretary, HUPA, presented the salient features of the Bill, and stated that the objective of the consultation was to elicit feedback from stake-holders for evolving a robust and effective Bill.

The Bill, which has been framed as a Central legislation, aims at establishing a uniform regulatory environment for the Real Estate sector in the country to safeguard the interests of consumers and to promote planned and orderly growth of the real estate and housing sectors. The Bill provides for the establishment of a State level Regulatory Authority in each state and aims to institute transparency and accountability in real estate and housing transactions by enforcing mandatory public disclosure, standardization and fair practices. While the sector has grown rapidly in recent years, much of this growth has been unregulated, with complaints of malpractices and lack of proper accountability on the part of builders and developers. The absence of standardization and professionalism has also constrained the orderly development of the industry. The Bill is expected to ensure greater accountability towards consumers, significantly reduce frauds and delays, and pave the way for accelerated investments and growth of the industry in the long term.

Most speakers at the day-long Consultation also welcomed and expressed support for the Bill on the ground that it would enhance consumer and investor confidence, bring in standardization and catalyse greater investments from the formal institutional channels. Various consumer forums and regulatory agencies including the Competition Commission and the National Housing Bank endorsed the provisions of the Bill as it would bring in greater transparency in the functioning of the industry and remove information asymmetries. Representatives of the real estate industry including CREDAI and NAREDCO requested that the Ministry of HUPA may suitably address the issue of fast tracking the approval process for the industry; and augmenting the development role of the Regulator. They also suggested that the constitution of the Authority may be broad based to take care of the interests of all stake-holders. There was a request from consumer associations that the brokers and agents also are brought into the regulation network. There were further requests for reduction in the upper limit of the area from current 4000 sq.mtrs or specify the number of minimum units being constructed beyond which registration becomes essential. Inclusion of force majeure provisions were also sought by the developers.

Summing up the discussions, Shri Arun Kumar Misra, Secretary to Govt of India, Ministry of HUPA expressed satisfaction with the discussions and stated that his Ministry would endeavour to take into account the inputs provided by the participants while finalizing the contours of the bill.

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