The state housing ministry has joined the chorus against the inflated Ready Reckoner (RR) rates, introduced by the revenue ministry on January 1, on grounds that it would hurt the concept of affordable housing.
In a meeting presided over by state minister for housing Sachin Ahir, there was unanimity among officials that the rates — between 5% and 40% — were too steep.
“We are asking for justification on such high rates,” said Ahir. “It will definitely come in the way of affordable housing.”
The housing ministry also raised objection over basing the RR on built-up area. “When we have decided to adopt carpet-area based rates and are punishing the builders for flouting rules, the government can’t impose any charge based on built-up area ,” said Ahir.
Both builders and housing activists have been critical of the RR rate hike. “What is the basis of a hike when there is no sale at all and the market is going through a rough phase?” asked Paras Gundecha, president, Maharashtra Chambers of Housing Industry (MCHI), the apex body of builders.
Calling the state a hypocrite, Ramesh Prabhu, chairman, Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association, said the state’s decision will make homes costlier. “The state on one hand makes noises about affordable houses and on the other hikes taxes.”
“We have a comprehensive method to calculate RR and such protests are unjustified,” said a revenue department official, who did not wish to be named. “We study transactions, market trends, interact with builders and brokers as well as visit property exhibitions before deciding RR rates.”