India’s slowdown-hit real estate sector is hoping for a fresh boom with the government deciding to prune a long list of conditions developers have to meet before laying the first brick.
The plan seeks to replicate Hong Kong’s success of issuing each construction permit within 60 days.
Experts say fewer formalities and quicker approvals would reduce project costs for developers and pull down prices for home buyers.
Builders spend up to three years running around for over 50 approvals from authorities at the Centre, state and municipal bodies with the industry complaining that convoluted green regulations were choking off growth.
The environment ministry last week decided to reduce the number of conditions that developers have to meet from 30 to about six-eight, depending on the project size. These norms are related to water conservation, natural drainage, solid-waste management, energy, air quality, noise and green cover.
For instance, a project coming up on a 50,000 to 150,000 sqm area will need to fulfill eight prescribed norms while smaller ones will have to meet just six conditions.
“With clearance coming quickly, cost will come down. It will also cut down delays,” said Sanjay Dutt, executive managing director (South Asia) of real estate brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield.
A 2015 World Bank report of nations on their ease in dealing with construction permits found India had one of the most cumbersome and lengthy processes, ranking it 184th among 189 countries.
The civil aviation ministry has already come up with colour-coded zoning maps for major airports across India, which would point out areas where construction projects would have to adhere to height restrictions. The maps would be uploaded on websites enabling municipalities to accord approvals without applicants going to the ministry.
Similarly, the culture ministry has launched a cellphone app that would facilitate online approval for construction in the vicinity of monuments within 72 hours. The time taken now is 90 days.