Housing ministry seeks single window clearance for real estate projects

Housing minister Ajay Maken, speaking to journalists.

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.

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 percent. “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.

Read more: The Economic Times

Haryana seeks public suggestions on affordable housing policy draft

The Haryana government has formulated a draft ‘Affordable Housing Policy, 2013’ and sought suggestions from the public as well as stakeholders. The draft policy aims at encouraging affordable housing projects and can have real impact on making housing affordable in urban areas of the state. It will also ensure giving broad outlines of the policy that it would seek to encourage planning and completion of ‘Mass Group Housing Projects’ within a ‘targeted timeframe’ to ensure increased supply of ‘affordable houses’ to the deserving. Any project for which licence is granted under the present policy cannot be converted into normal group housing colony, irrespective of whether or not the case falls within the 20 percent residential sector area limit prescribed for group housing projects.

Read more: The Times of India

Un-registered flat owners liable for stamp duty at market rate

Flat owners who have paid stamp duty but not registered later will be liable for stamp duty at today’s market rate. Maharashtra finance minister Ajit Pawar in his annual budget for 2013-14 has said if proper stamp duty is paid on a registered agreement to sell, treating it as a deemed conveyance and subsequently a conveyance deed is executed without any modification then such a conveyance be treated as supplementary document under section 4 of the Maharashtra Stamp Act and a duty of Rs 100 be charged. The government has proposed to amend article 25 of the Act.

This proposal is expected to increase burden on the property buyer.

A realty industry player, who did not want to be identified, told Business Standard “If a buyer has purchased flat at Rs 13 lakh in 2001 by paying stamp duty of Rs 60,000 but has failed to register the flat then considering the present value of flat risen to about Rs 1 crore then it will attract stamp duty at 5% which comes to Rs 5 lakh.” The finance minister’s proposal will further dampen the mood of the realty sector which is struggling to survive.

Read more: Business Standard

Economy

CEOs across sectors vent anger over red tape, slow decision-making of government

The wave of euphoria that swept corner rooms after P Chidambaram’s appointment as finance minister and scrapping of restrictions on FDI in retail last year appears to have ebbed, giving rise to angst and recrimination over the slow pace of approvals and reforms. Bureaucratic hurdles and lack of progress in key issues such as the goods and services tax have upset businessmen already irked by what they see as a vindictive mindset in certain sections of the government. “I do not see Indian or foreign companies making large investments. The Cabinet Committee on Investment has not acted as fast as expected,” says Deepak Parekh, chairman of HDFC, the country’s biggest mortgage lender. “There is a promise that the new leadership team will improve things, but the effects are still to be seen on the ground. The unpredictability still exists. You are seeing what is happening on the ground. It’s a logjam… No new real jobs are getting created. The bottlenecks are slowing investments and the projects are still stuck,” says Ajit Gulabchand, chairman and managing director of HCC, an infrastructure and construction company.

Read more: The Economic Times

Banks working overtime to meet projected deposit and credit growth

growthWith only a fortnight left for the financial year to end, banks are working overtime to meet the central bank’s projected deposit and credit growth.

In the second-last fortnight of the fiscal year that ended on March 8, the year-on-year, deposit growth stood at 13.15%, short of the RBI’s projected 15% for the whole year. But, lending growth was a shade better at 15.4%, but still short of RBI’s comfort level of 16%.

Having fallen short of the annual business growth projection, banks are raising deposits aggressively. Deposits of about 1 lakh crore were raised during the fortnight. Aggregate deposits, including demand and term deposits, rose 99,124 crore, taking the outstanding deposits to 66.6 lakh crore.

Read more: The Economic Times

Infrastructure

Delhi to get seven new hospitals

New hospitals, more mobile health units and ambulances, tobacco cessation clinics and a program to ensure that safe street food is made available to the public are some of the important proposals made in the Delhi budget 2013-14 on Wednesday. Overall the Plan outlay for the health sector has been enhanced by 33 percent from Rs. 1,872 crore in 2012-13 to Rs. 2,490 crore in 2013-14. As per the proposals, Delhiites stand to get seven new hospitals and nine new dispensaries in the next fiscal. The Delhi Government is also looking at bettering effective transportation of patients needing emergency medical care by increasing its fleet of ambulance to 251 by procuring 100 new ambulances in 2013-14. For imparting healthcare to the underserved sections of the society, six additional mobile units are proposed to be added in North-East District with support from the Central Government. Specialized mobile units will also be provided for outreach programs under mental, dental and liver health screening.

Read more: The Economic Times

Punjab budget to boost infra development: Industry

Industry today said the Punjab budget would lead to infrastructure development in the state. Welcoming the 15 percent increase in the Annual Plan outlay for next year, the Chairman of Punjab Committee of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Rajiv Bali, said, “It will go a long way in furthering the development of infrastructure in power, roads, rural water supply and sanitation, health and education.” Bali said that the upcoming 91 mega projects involving investment of 51,049 crore would help in generation of employment and would address ensuing unemployment problem. D L Sharma, Chairman, CII Punjab State Council said, “The budget is focused more towards development of social infrastructure like strengthening the road network and upgradation & creation of better civic amenities.” The outlay of Rs 285 crore for upgradation of focal points would help in considerably augmenting the facilities at our Industrial centres if this is utilized judiciously, he said adding, however, “This amount should have been higher”.

Read more: The Economic Times

No new projects, focus on completing pending works

Road infrastructure and public transport will continue to be the thrust areas in the new fiscal. The government has kept aside nearly one-fourth of its total planned outlay — Rs. 3,876 crore — for building roads, flyovers, metro, monorail and buying buses, announced last year. The transport department has been getting the largest share in Delhi’s budget for few years. This time, instead of announcing new projects, the government will spend on completing projects it started the previous year, which are worth more than Rs. 5,000 crore. “In the last budget, I informed that a 20-km corridor on Outer Ring Road from Vikaspuri to Wazirabad will be made signal-free through elevated roads and flyovers. The work from Vikaspuri to Meera Bagh has already commenced with an elevated road of about 3.5 km length being built at a cost of Rs. 550 crore. The work on the remaining part will start shortly,” chief minister Sheila Dikshit said in her budget speech.

Read more:  Hindustan Times

 

NRI News

Indiabulls enters agreement with Doha Bank for NRI deals

Indiabulls Real Estate Ltd has tied up with Doha Bank to offer its NRI customers exclusive deals on properties in India. Complimentary Home Loan eligibility checks, special offers on Indiabulls properties and exclusive promotion for Doha Bank Indian customers will be part of the special offer. The agreement offers mortgage loans to its NRI customers for acquiring properties in India, serving the growing demand from expatriate Indians for home loans and property acquisition in Indiabulls’ housing projects. “With the opening of an office in Dubai last year, company’s future plans include opening of offices in other GCC countries including Qatar,” said Santosh Tandel, Regional Head – MENA Region, Indiabulls. “We aim to connect more and provide seamless service through the arrangement. Gulf NRIs have always contributed significantly in the Indian economy whether it is remittances or investments in properties,” he said.

Read more: Financial Chronicle

Victory for tech industry: H1B visas for high-skilled workers including India could double

The number of H-1B visas issued by the US could double under a proposed Senate immigration plan which would also remove the cap on the green card, a move likely to benefit Indian-American technology professionals but not the Indian companies.

The Senate immigration plan would dramatically increase the number of high-skilled foreign workers allowed into the country and give permanent legal status to an unlimited number of students who earn graduate degrees from US universities in science, technology, engineering or math, Washington Post reported quoting people familiar with the negotiations.

Read more: The Economic Times

Project progress at Ireo's The Grand Arch in Sector 58, Gurgaon

Project progress at Ireo’s The Grand Arch in Sector 58, Gurgaon

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