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For real estate, truly a giant leap forward

It is notable and welcome that the ministry of urban development has been able to leverage information technology to majorly speed up and streamline clearances and approvals for construction permits in the nation’s two major metropolitan areas, Delhi and Mumbai. And 51 other cities with a million plus population reportedly plan to follow suit, and need to be incentivised to speedily do so. It would amount to pathbreaking reform; online monitoring of infrastructure projects by all concerned would also make perfect sense.

There is unacceptable opacity and routine delays in the award of construction permits nationwide, and India has the dubious distinction of being placed among the bottom five among 190 countries when it comes to norms for building permits, in the World Bank’s annual ease of doing business report. There are at least 29 sets of procedures to be followed, and getting all approvals and the green signal can take many months, even years. Economist Jagdish Bhagwati has termed such rigidities as ‘directly unproductive profit-seeking’, which only add to costs, overheads and generally stymie economic activity.

The plan now is to thoroughly overhaul systems and procedures, and go for online application, fee payment and building plan approval that do away with the need for personal visits, in Mumbai and Delhi to begin with. Instead of several affidavits, just one undertaking is all that is now required. And building plans would be deemed sanctioned by the 31st day of application, if not acted on earlier. The move can purposefully stem rent-seeking and shore up transparency in real estate. Abroad, in the mature economies, real estate accounts for a significant part of overall economic growth; there is no reason for the like figure to remain far lower here.

Source : The Economic Times

17th March, 2017

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