After running into opposition from the states on a host of issues, including the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre and Lokpal Bill, the Centre has decided to go slow on a bill to regulate India’s burgeoning real estate sector.
The housing and urban poverty alleviation ministry, which had finalised the draft Real Estate Regulatory Authority Bill, had earlier set March 31 as the deadline to get the proposed legislation approved by the cabinet. The bill has been pending since 2009.
Sources said that following recent instances where states have raised the issue of attack on federalism and held back a series of key policy decisions by the Centre, the ministry, at the last moment, developed cold feet.
The Centre had earlier proposed a model Real Estate Regulatory Authority Bill. Last year, it decided that it should be redrafted into a central act. “Though land and colonisation are state subjects, the ministry decided to redraft the bill under the concurrent list as some of the issues being covered fall under concurrent jurisdiction,” said an official.
Now, apprehensive that the state governments may oppose the setting up of a regulator, it has decided to hold another round of consultations to get them on-board. “We have written to the chief ministers of all the states to send their representatives for the April 20 meeting. Though we have taken abundant care to ensure that the states’ role is not impinged upon, we do not want to take any chances. We want to discuss the contours of the bill before it’s finalised,” said a source.
The ministry had discussed the various clauses of the bill with all the stakeholders, including the states, a number of times before finalising it. “But it was decided that we should have another round of discussions with the states before going to the cabinet,” the source said.
The proposed bill will safeguard the interests of property buyers from land sharks by making it mandatory for developers to get themselves registered with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority.