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One year of RERA: Tardy implementation restricts gains

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Photo Credit: Aparna Constructions

By Vinod Behl

Two years after the Centre notified the Real Estate Regulation and Development Act (RERA) of 2016 to empower and protect property consumers and make property transactions fair and transparent by regulating the sector, the sluggish and flawed implementation of the progressive act, has put a big question mark on the gains of RERA.

RERA was passed by both the houses of Parliament in March 2016 and on May 1, 2016 a majority of the sections of the Act came into force. Under this model Act, every state was required to set up its regulatory authority within a year (by May 1, 2017). And in the next one year, the states were mandated to make their RERA websites operational for the benefit of home buyers. Other sections were notified in April 2017 and on May 1, 2017 the full act became operational.

Today, two years after RERA became an Act, only 20 states have notified rules. What’s more, except for the states of Maharashtra, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh, which have permanent regulators, all other states are making do with interim regulators.

Under RERA, all developers need to register to launch projects, which get registered only after all necessary permissions and land for the project are in place. They are required to provide all the mandatory information to be up on the official website of RERA to help buyers take an informed decision about buying property.

RERA’s performance on this front is also dismal as 15 states are without an operational RERA website. Even on the functional websites, the projects information is either incomplete or questionable, with no way to check its authenticity. As a result of the weak and faulty implementation of RERA, home buyers are deprived of the gains and protection guaranteed under the Act.

Notwithstanding the criticism about flawed and slow implementation of RERA, this progressive regulation has helped in project execution and delivery, boosting demand and sales, in turn contributing to the revival of residential real estate, though the gains are limited.

As RERA takes root — along with low interest rates, stable property prices and the government’s loan subsidy for affordable housing — its positive impact is already visible. There has been an eight per cent hike in housing demand in Q1, 2018, compared to Q4, 2017. Home sales registered a 33 per cent rise in the top nine cities during this period. In fact, housing sales exceeded new supply by five per cent during the last two years.

It’s another matter that buyers have so far not developed complete confidence and prefer ready homes to avoid development risks. The preventive and penal provisions of RERA have made developers focus on deliveries, readying a good pipeline of completed homes for sale.

Besides various other factors, fund constraint has been the prime reason for large-scale delivery defaults. But RERA, aided by other key reforms like GST, FDI liberalisation, ease of doing business and demonetisation, have brought in much-needed transparency, fair play and financial discipline by regulating realty, in turn giving a boost to the confidence of global investors.

Statistics speak for themselves. PE investments witnessed 52 percent rise since 2014. PE investments grew 17 percent in 2017 to Rs 42,800 crore, as against Rs 36,590 crore last year, with residential realty attracting highest investment of Rs 15,600 crore.

RERA, besides empowering and protecting consumers, has put grievance-redressal on the fast track. It was following the enactment of RERA that a group of aggrieved home buyers could directly approach the National Consumers Dispute Redressal Commission (NCRDC), thereby bypassing lower consumer courts to ensure fast-track justice. It is also because of RERA that the government, development authorities and the judiciary have become pro-active in coming to the rescue of aggrieved home buyers of stalled projects.

The much publicised cases of Jaypee Infratech and the Amrapali Group are cases in point where developers are facing the ire of about one lakh home buyers. In both cases, the companies are staring at insolvency and the Supreme Court has come down heavily on the errant developers, saying it is committed to safeguard the interests of home buyers in terms of project completion and refunds.

Meanwhile, it is also the result of the pressure created by RERA that home buyers are set to get relief under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) as the government plans an ordinance to treat home buyers as financial creditors to facilitate refunds.

Considering the pros and cons, RERA needs to cover a lot of ground for its effective implementation, in order to serve its desired purpose. And according to Dr Samantak Das, Chief Economist, Knight Frank India Property Advisory, in the current scenario, the sentiment that drives the purchase of residential property is unlikely to change. He may sound too negative. But one thing is certain: The patchy implementation of RERA has delayed the revival of real estate, especially residential realty.

Gautam Chatterjee, Chairperson of the Maharashtra RERA, the front-runner in the implementation of the Act, believes that this “transition pain of RERA” may last at least a couple of years. And Anuj Puri, Chairman of Anarock Property Consultants, sums up the scenario well, saying that although real estate recovery under RERA will be gradual, yet it will be extremely durable — and based on very sound market dynamics.

(Vinod Behl is Founder & Editor, Ground Real(i)ty Media, a real estate content consultancy. He can be contacted at [email protected])

IANS

Analysis

Actual sugarcane FRP hike is Rs 6, not 20: Agri activists

The government has approved a premium of Rs 2.75 per quintal for each 0.1 per cent increase in the recovery over and above 10 per cent.

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New Delhi, July 18 (IANS) The government’s decision on Wednesday to increase the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) for sugarcane for 2018-19 (October-September) season by Rs 20 to Rs 275 for a quintal comes with a rider that the new rate will be applicable only when the recovery rate is 10 per cent.

The recovery rate — of sugar from sugarcane — was 9.5 per cent when the government had fixed the FRP of Rs 255 for a quintal in 2017-18.

If the recovery rate of 9.5 per cent is considered for 2018-19, the farmers will get only Rs 261.25, which is a hike of roughly Rs 6.25, on year-on-year basis.

According to Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, 295 mills of the total 550-odd mills in the country have reported recovery rate of over 10 per cent.

“Earlier, the recovery rate was 9.5 per cent. But it is increasing now. There are 295 mills which have reported over 10 per cent recovery rate, 82 have between 9.5 and 10 per cent, while there are only 127 mills that have below 10 per cent recovery rate. As the majority is of 10 per cent, we have gone with it (while fixing the FRP),” Paswan told reporters here.

The average national recovery rate is 10.51 per cent, while it is 10.20 per cent and 11.47 per cent in major sugar producing states of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, respectively, he said.

However, agriculture activists called the hike in the FRP “shameful”, saying the actual hike would be below 3 per cent.

“It’s like peanuts. It is not even 3 per cent since expenses on electricity, labour and fertlizer have gone up significantly. The hike should have been done rationally,” said V.M. Singh, president of Rashtriya Kisan Majdoor Party.

He said the remuneration at 10 per cent recovery rate in 2017-18 was Rs 268, which means the actual hike is only of Rs 7 this year.

There are about five crore sugarcane farmers in the country and about five lakh workers are directly employed in sugar mills.

The total remittance to sugarcane farmers by the millers would be over Rs 83,000 crore.

The government has approved a premium of Rs 2.75 per quintal for each 0.1 per cent increase in the recovery over and above 10 per cent.

According to the government, the production cost of sugarcane for 2018-19 is pegged at Rs 155 per quintal, so the FRP of Rs 275 per quintal would provide a return of 77.42 per cent.

The FRP is determined on the basis of recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).

Paswan said there will not be any reduction in case recovery rate goes below 9.5 per cent and farmers will get Rs 261.25 per quintal.

As per the Food Ministry’s figures, the cane arrears, which stood at Rs 14,538 crore at FRP (Rs 23,232 crore at state advisory price – SAP) on May 21, has come down to Rs 9,319 crore (Rs 17,824 at SAP) following the various steps taken by the government in May including the Rs 7,000-crore package.

“Our top priority is farmers. To ensure that millers can pay farmers their dues, we give them such facilities,” Paswan said.

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Chidambaram slams government over ‘economic mismanagement’

“After 5-month-high inflation and 7-month-low industrial growth comes the news of soaring trade deficit.”

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New Delhi, July 14 : Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Friday slammed the government over its poor management of economy, saying inflation is at five-month high, industrial growth at five-month low and the trade deficit has soared.

Chidambaram, a former Finance Minister, said in tweets that exports were lower in June compared to May and the imports higher.

He said despite the higher trade deficit, the government would continue to say that all is well.

“After 5-month-high inflation and 7-month-low industrial growth comes the news of soaring trade deficit.”

“June exports lower than May. June imports higher than May. June trade deficit higher by $2 billion. But the government will say all is well,” he said.

Chidambaram said the Congress leaders had estimated that demonetisation would lead to a cut in growth rate by 1.5 per cent and the outgoing Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian has said that purging high currency notes in November 2016 led to a definite slowing down of economy.

The official data showed on Thursday that retail inflation in India touched the 5 per cent-mark in June, compared to 4.87 per cent in May, even as industrial output in May grew at 3.2 per cent compared to the same month last year but declined as compared to rise of 4.9 per cent in April mainly on account of a decline in manufacturing.

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Online hiring for government jobs fell 20% in June: Report

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New Delhi, July 5: Online recruitment activity for government services, including public sector enterprises and defence sector, declined by 20 per cent in June on a year-on-year basis, a monster.com report said here on Thursday.

Overall online recruitment in June 2018 fell by three per cent on a year-on-year basis and eight per cent compared with May 2018, the Monster Employment Index for June 2018 said.

“Printing and packaging sector witnessed the steepest decline — 27 per cent year-on-year basis and 15 per cent month-on-month basis,” the report said.

In the agriculture-based industries, online hiring declined by 19 per cent in June 2018, compared with June 2017.

However, the production and manufacturing segment registered a 49 per cent rise in online recruitment. Home appliances segment registered a 27 per cent fall.

“Production and manufacturing (up 49 per cent) led all monitored industry sectors by the way of long-term growth for the third month in succession,” the report said.

IANS

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