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RERA may revive real estate sector in second half, say experts

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New Delhi, April 10 : After May 1, when the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) is in place, the realty sector will likely see an uptrend with slight price correction, say industry players and stakeholders.

This is likely as genuine buyers may pitch in on the back of an improved consumer climate and lower home loan rates.

“Considering the present scenario, the next three-four months are like the gestation period for the realty sector and after six months the sector is likely to gain momentum. We are hoping to see positive impact in the second half of 2017 itself after RERA comes into full effect,” real estate advisory firm PropUrban Founder and CEO Mir Jaffer Ali told IANS.

According to the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, which came into effect on May 1 last year, every state is supposed to have a RERA in a year’s time.

It will thereon become mandatory for all real estate projects, commercial and residential, to register with RERA for transparent execution.

“At a time when the setting up of a Real Estate Regulatory Authority in each state is set to bring in increased accountability in the markets, we can expect to witness some amount of correction in real estate prices in markets,” property consultant Cushman & Wakefield Managing Director (India) Anshul Jain told IANS.

Ali concurred and said that the cash component in property transactions will see a significant drop, resulting in a fall in land prices, which could be anywhere between 15 and 20 per cent at some places.

On a positive note, almost all banks have also lowered the home loan interest rates post demonetisation which would automatically generate more demand for housing with the sops given to affordable housing in this year’s Union Budget being an added advantage.

The start of 2017 has seen buyer sentiment improve and the anticipation is that with a positive electoral result and encouraging budgetary reforms, the sector should perform better over the course of the year.

Large developers such as the Lodha Group have seen sales of 850 units in February 2017, which indicates a gradual upward trend in consumer sentiment across the segment.

More so, with the dust of demonetisation finally settling, buyers’ sentiments are looking positive in anticipation of higher transparency and efficiency. Genuine requirement for homes coupled with reduced interest on home loans can be attributed to this.

According to a survey by PropUrban, once RERA is fully in place, about 45 per cent respondents would be investing within the next six months, while another 26 per cent are likely to take the plunge within a year.

“Interestingly, now the market will see the return of ‘real buyers’. As for the RERA and Benami Amendment Act, the sector is likely to see positive impact in the short-term — within one-two years,” Ali said.

Moreover, with the deadline of implementing RERA fast approaching, developers are trying to focus on completing their existing projects rather than launching new ones, which is good for the sector and buyers, he added.

With RERA, there would be mandatory disclosure of project details, including those of the promoter, project, land status and clearances. This would increase the credibility of developers and would protect consumer rights as well.

Dharmesh Jain, President, Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India — Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (CREDAI-MCHI), told IANS that RERA “will help in bringing in higher transparency and will help the customer to get possession in time. Also, one will know what they are paying for and would be sure they will get what they are promised. In fact, the developers will have to be accountable on the dates and timelines shared”.

Additionally, buyers and developers will now finally be on a level playing field with respect to penalties on delays. Both parties will now pay the same rate of interest in case the buyer delays payment or the developer delays giving possession.

“RERA is a long-term policy measure whose effect will be pretty permanent, in the sense that it will drive unscrupulous or unorganised developers off the market and leave a level playing field for credible players in its wake,” Ramesh Nair, CEO and Country Head of leading property consultant JLL India, told IANS.

“We are now seeing evidence of a gradual revival on the back of pro-consumer measures like RERA coming in, decisive court actions against errant developers, price corrections and renewed confidence in the economy,” he said.

Shubika Bilkha, Business Head, Real Estate Management Institute (REMI), told IANS, “These initiatives will contribute to organising this sector that has been traditionally fragmented and unorganised, while improving consumer confidence.”

By : Meghna Mittal

(Meghna Mittal can be reached at [email protected])

India

Government forms committee for regulation of online media

It will do so keeping in mind the existing FDI norms, programmes and advertising code for TV channels and norms circulated by the representative bodies of media organisations.

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Online News

New Delhi, April 5 : In a move to establish regulatory framework for online media and news portals, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has set up a committee that will recommend formation of appropriate policy.

The committee, which has Secretary of the ministry as its convener, was set up a day after the ministry withdrew its guidelines on fake news following directions from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

According to an order of the ministry of April 4, the 10-member committee includes secretaries of the ministries of Home, and Electronics and Information Technology, and the departments of Legal Affairs, and Industrial Policy and Promotion.

It also has a representatives from the Press Council of India, News Broadcasters Association and the Indian Broadcasters Federation.

The Terms of the reference (ToR) of the committee include delineation of the sphere of online information dissemination which needs to be brought under regulation, on the lines applicable to the print and electronic media.

The committee will recommend appropriate policy formulation for online media/ news portals and online content platforms, including digital broadcasting, that encompasses entertainment, infotainment and news and media aggregators.

“It will do so keeping in mind the existing FDI norms, programmes and advertising code for TV channels and norms circulated by the representative bodies of media organisations,” the order said.

The committee will also analyse the international scenario on the existing regulatory mechanism with a view to incorporate the best practices.

The order said the content on private television channels is regulated by the Programme and Advertisement Codes, while the PCI has norms to regulate the print media.

“There are no norms or guidelines to regulate the online media websites and news portals. Therefore, it has been decided to constitute a committee to frame and suggest a regulatory framework for online media/ news portals including digital broadcasting and entertainment/ infotainment sites and news/ media aggregators,” it said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government had made a hasty retreat on Tuesday as the Prime Minister withdrew within hours of release of his government’s order that threatened to take away the accreditation of journalists involved in producing

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Business

Duty on China imports, GST slow down India’s solar additions: UN report

The 86-page report — Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018 — released by UN Environment, the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre and Bloomberg New Energy Finance blames Indian policies for slowing down the speed to tap solar power.

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UN Environment head Erik Solheim

New Delhi, April 5 : India’s imposition of duty on Chinese solar cells and modules shipped and levy of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on panels have significantly slowed down solar capacity additions last year, a UN report said on Thursday.

It says developing economies, comprising India, China and Brazil, committed $177 billion to renewables last year, up 20 per cent, compared to $103 billion for developed countries, down 19 per cent.

This was the largest tilt in favour of developing countries yet seen. It was only in 2015 that the developing world first invested more in green energy than developed economies.

A record 157 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power, excluding large hydro, were commissioned across the globe in 2017, up from 143GW in 2016 and far out-stripping the 70GW of net fossil fuel generating capacity added last year.

The 86-page report — Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018 — released by UN Environment, the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre and Bloomberg New Energy Finance blames Indian policies for slowing down the speed to tap solar power.

It says the solar activity was held back by an unexpected rise in PV module prices in local currency terms, due to a sudden reduction in the oversupply of imported Chinese units, exacerbated by the imposition of a 7.5 per cent import duty on modules and a local GST on panels.

There was also a slowing in the pace of solar auctions around India.

In the medium term, PV installations look set to increase sharply, as India seeks to hit its ambitious target of 100GW of solar by 2022.

However, that acceleration did not materialise in 2017.

The report says the ‘big three’ of China, India and Brazil accounted for just over half of global investment in renewables, excluding large hydro, last year, with China alone representing 45 per cent, up from 35 per cent a year earlier.

However, the report says India’s investment oscillating in the $6-14 billion range since 2010 but still not reaching the sort of levels that would be required for that country to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious goals for 2022.

India came fourth in the world rankings by country for renewable energy investment last year, at $10.9 billion, down 20 per cent.

Solar took the biggest share, at $6.7 billion, with wind at $4 billion. These lead sectors were up three per cent and down 41 per cent in dollar terms respectively.

Venture capital and private equity investment in renewable energy fell by exactly a third in the world in 2017 to $1.8 billion, just a sixth of its 2008 peak of more than $10 billion.

However, India beat Europe into second place for the second time in three years.

India’s venture capital and private equity investment rose 27 per cent to $457 million, or 26 per cent of the total, while Europe’s fell 26 per cent to $287 million, a 16 per cent share.

India’s investment grew strongly because it secured three of the five largest deals.

Two of those were wind companies raising funds to expand in India, a fiercely competitive market with huge growth potential that is attracting many foreign investors.

The largest deal was secured by Greenko Energy, an independent power producer based in Hyderabad, which raised $155 million in PE expansion capital from GIC, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore, and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

The pair had already invested $230 million in the company in 2016.

Another Indian independent power producer, Hero Future Energies, raised $125 million in PE expansion capital from the International Finance Corporation and the IFC Global Infrastructure Fund.

The third large Indian deal was secured by Clean Max Enviro Energy Solutions, which claims to be India’s biggest rooftop solar developer, having installed 100MW since the company was founded in 2011.

“The extraordinary surge in solar investment, around the world, shows how much can be achieved when we commit to growth without harming the environment,” UN Environment head Erik Solheim said in a statement.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at [email protected])

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Africa

Indian-owned Swami fills Accra’s accommodation gap with $12 mn estate

Swami Group entered a market that has real demand and is perhaps providing what governments across the continent are not able to do.

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Knight Frank

Accra, March 31 : As the Ghanaian government struggles to find a solution to the country’s accommodation problem, Indian-owned Swami International has stepped in with a $12 million, 12.4 acre Paradise Estates township made up of 102 houses in the capital Accra.

This is part of the company’s $50 million investment in real estate across two other West African countries, Gambia and Senegal, its General Manager, Tarun Singh, told IANS.

Swami entered the West African real estate market two years ago, Singh said, in response to an African Development Bank (AfDB) report that the continent “was growing with an urbanisation rate of 3.4 per cent, with cities across the continent experiencing the fastest urban growth rate globally. Unfortunately, it looks like this is not being matched by the ability to provide affordable houses”.

He said the Swami Group entered a market that has real demand and is perhaps providing what governments across the continent are not able to do.

The international real estate group, Knight Frank, in a report on Africa’s real estate sector for 2017, said rapid population growth across Africa — faster than any other global region — together with urbanisation, is driving the property market activity across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Singh said the company had already completed a similar project in Senegal and had moved on to a second one at Diamniodo, a new development at the new airport.

“Our decision to come to West Africa is due to the peace and security we find in the countries that we are operating in,” he added.

Singh, however, said there were some problems that needed to be solved, including skilled workers to be engaged on large-scale housing projects and poor utility services, in order to attract more investors into the real estate sector in the three countries.

In addition to the provision of houses in Gambia, Singh said the company has also provided rural electrification and boreholes for the people. “In addition, we have also ventured into agriculture with the cultivation of potatoes in Senegal and bananas in the Gambia,” he said.

The AfDB has identified a huge deficit in the real estate sector which it said had hit the poor hard because of affordability and this had remained a key challenge to developing the housing finance market.

By : Francis Kokutse

(Francis Kokutse can be contacted at [email protected])

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