Housing ministry has recommended a technology-enabled single-window portal for streamlining the process of approvals for real estate projects.
NEW DELHI: A committee under the housing ministry has recommended a technology-enabled single-window portal for streamlining the process of approvals for real estate projects that may help developers bring down home prices.
The committee on streamlining approval procedures for real estate projects, headed by former chairman of Competition Commission of India Dhanendra Kumar, has recommended setting up of a nodal agency that will act as a single-window and coordinate approvals from different authorities.
For affordable housing projects, it has recommended a fast-track process with a 60-day clearance window. "This will help increase the supply of housing in affordable category," said housing minister Ajay Maken.
In its report submitted last week, the committee said that the ministry of environment and forests might relax the threshold for environment clearances for affordable housing projects from 20,000 sq metre to 50,000 sq metre and automatic clearance for such affordable housing projects that have obtained green certification under LEED of Griha environment rating systems.
Along with clearances from the Airports Authority of India, environment clearances for large real estate projects are the most time consuming, delaying projects and escalating costs.
Developers lament that large housing projects in the metros require them to take approvals from about 50 different authorities in the central and state governments, local authorities including the environment ministry, National Monuments Authority, aviation ministry, besides departments such as forest, water, pollution, fire, revenue and town planning. This process can take up to three and a half years in Mumbai and between two to three years in Bangalore, Chennai and Gurgaon, escalating the cost of homes by up to 40%.
"A single-window clearance mechanism can help developers bring down housing cost," said Maken. Among the issues that developers face is the lack of clarity on processes related to approvals. To address this issue, the committee has suggested creating a compendium of process and timelines for approvals across central and state government departments. It has created an indicative flowchart of the entire process for real estate project approvals along with a sample composite application form, based on a standard checklist.
Members of the committee have also urged government bodies to remove duplicity or unnecessary approvals and simplify the approval process by clearly stating applicable rules and restrictions.
"There are opportunities to eliminate the need for NOC (no-objection certificate) from certain authorities such as NMA ( National Monument Authority), AAI (Airports Authority of India), if the restricted areas are marked as red, green, yellow," says the report.
To protect consumer interest and bring in more transparency, it has recommended that a list of all approved projects should be uploaded on the websites of local authorities and information provided online on the status of applications for building approvals. Buyers will, therefore, be able to check the status of a particular project and not become prey to unscrupulous builders who start pre-sales of projects without having all approvals in place.