It will allow developers to seek permissions in time-bound manner

Having paved the way for protection of consumers against inordinate delays in the completion of housing projects through the introduction of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2013, the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) is now focussing attention on streamlining the process of seeking clearances for the real estate projects.

The Ministry has formed a committee that will soon present its report on the implementation of a single window clearance system for seeking approvals and necessary permissions for promoters. The system is aimed at reducing the time taken to secure permissions and cut down on the procedural delays.

HUPA Minister Ajay Maken told The Hindu: “The next big thing that we will focus on is the single window clearance. It is important now, once the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2013 is cleared, we will focus on this issue.”

While the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2013 makes it mandatory for developers to seek all clearances before collecting money for or advertising for projects, a single window clearance system will allow developers to seek all the requisite permissions in a time bound and rationalised manner.

“The only challenge to that [single window clearance] is that the vested interests at the lowest level are so strong that they do not want any transparency in single window clearance. Now it is a chain of events, first get one clearance then apply for the second, the third and so on till all 33 clearances are received. Why can’t we have a platform for the builder or the promoter to apply for all the required clearances together? Such a platform can be easily created by the State governments or the urban local bodies, where the work of seeking clearances can be done simultaneously in a transparent manner,” Mr. Maken said.

A committee set up to study the proposal was “on the verge of giving a final report,” he said.

“At three basic levels these clearances are required, the urban local bodies level, which give permission regarding the plans, then the water and sewerage connections, fire clearances and at the central government level we need civil aviation and environmental clearances. We need to sensitise stakeholders to have an interface wherein automatically all such plans can be forwarded,” he said.

The Minister said no timeline has been fixed for the implementation of a single window clearance system, but the Ministry is hopeful of some States taking the lead.

“We cannot enforce a time frame, some States will do it much before the others, we would like a few progressive States to start so that it becomes easier for the others to follow,” he said.

A single window system for clearance of real estate projects throughout the country is expected to bring down average approval time from 196 days to 45-60 days.

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