Venkaiah Naidu is credited with ushering in an urban renaissance in the country. It is because of his efforts that the much-delayed Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill was finally cleared by both Houses of Parliament last years after almost eight years.
With the new minister Narendra Singh Tomar taking charge of the ministry of urban development after the exit of M Venkaiah Naidu now running for the post of vice-president, homebuyers and developers are hopeful that the urban reform agenda, including RERA, initiated by him will continue under the new leadership.
Among the major tasks for the new minister would be to take the implementation of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016 forward and co-opting the remaining eight states in adopting the Act.
Venkaiah Naidu is credited with ushering in an urban renaissance in the country. It is because of his efforts that the much-delayed Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill was finally cleared by both houses of Parliament last years after almost eight years. So far, 21 states have notified the RERA rules, three states including Punjab, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have set up permanent regulators while 17 states have appointed interim regulators.
RERA came into force on May 1 this year. Developers have until July 31 to register projects. A large number of home buyers across states have expressed apprehension that the draft rules notified by some states have been diluted. “The minister took (a) personal interest in taking forward reforms pertaining to implementation of RERA and ensuring that rights of homebuyers are protected. We hope the new minister will take this agenda forward and ensure that the rules are notified by all states and not diluted,” says Abhay Upadhyay, National Convenor, Fight For RERA.
It was only last week that the former minister Naidu had said that his ministry has asked all states to put in place regulatory mechanism related to the Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act (RERA) by July 30. “I have been constantly following with chief ministers. I wrote two letters. Today my third and final letter is going reminding the need to fulfil this obligation which is there,” he said.
“I am happy that majority of the states have done it, remaining states will join in the coming days,” he said. Allaying fears related to the RERA, Naidu said, the regulations will not only help real estate developers but it will enhance credibility and increase acceptability. “It is regulation, not strangulation…it will just monitor that whatever builders have promised have been delivered,” he said.
Developers are hopeful that the new minister will take the reforms forward. “The real estate sector is currently going through an urban renaissance. The sector has witnessed a plethora of reforms of late such as GST, RERA etc. As many as 90 cities have made it to the Smart Cities list, affordable housing has been granted infrastructure status. The Centre has also recently started the process to merge two Union ministries – urban development (UD) and housing and urban poverty alleviation (HUPA)—involved in policy making in urban areas. There may be a short-term vacuum following the minister’s exit but we are hopeful that the new minister will take forward the reforms agenda initiated by his predecessor,” says Jaxay Shah, president, CREDAI.
Samantak Das – Chief Economist & National Director – Research, Knight Frank India, says that all urban reforms are above any individual and are indicative of the government’s thrust on the sector.
Other schemes launched under Naidu’s leadership include Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), the Smart Cities Mission under which the list of 90 cities has so far been released after three rounds and the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).
Over 21 lakh affordable houses have been approved for construction under the PMAY (Urban) so far in the first two years of its launch. The government has extended the credit-linked subsidy scheme (CLSS), a component of PMAY (Urban), to middle-income groups with an annual income of Rs 12-18 lakh, under which interest subsidy of four percent and three percent on housing loans will be provided.
The government is focusing on providing 2 crore houses by 2022 under its programme Housing for All by 2022. To achieve the target it is now collaborating with private builders and developers under a public-private partnership model (PPP).