By Vanita Akhaury
The government is laying down the mechanisms to improvise methods of doing business in the construction sector. The Ministry of Urban Development on 18 March released a set of model building bye-laws (MBBL), which provide a structural framework to help create an online single window building plan approval process.
The model building bye-laws released by the Urban Development minister Venkaiah Naidu eliminate chances of corruption in obtaining building approvals for construction.
The new bye-laws outline a structural framework for single window integrated building plan approval process. It fixes the time period for all sorts of building approvals at 30 days, post which, the approval would be considered as given.
Speaking about it, Naidu said, “The mechanism creates a single window approval system that eliminates man to man interaction and thereby reduces corruption.”
The law does away with the need of the applicant to interact with the urban local body as it provides for online approvals of various kinds with no-objection certificates.
The state governments too need to adopt the same model building bye-laws. A number of states had been following the model building bye-laws issued by the central government in 2004.
The practice prevalent earlier was that builders used to approach different ministries for all sorts of environmental clearances. And a lot of time gap used to occur in obtaining clearances for one project, thus adding to delays, which resulted in cost escalation on all fronts for the developer.
Now, the new model building bye-laws takes that fact into consideration and provides for the amalgamation of different kinds of environmental considerations. This means that once the model building bye-law is implemented, there will be no need for a separate environmental clearance or permission, Naidu stated.
Here’s a quick look at what the law stipulates;
The new laws categorise buildings into three categories based on the built-up area - 5,000 to 20,000 square metres, 20,000 to 50,000 sq mt and 50,000 to 150,000 sq mt. Based upon their built up area, different set of environmental conditions are provided for each category. A risk-based matrix has been introduced for different types of buildings. Small buildings that fall in the low risk criteria can get fast track approval while high risk buildings like mall, multi-storey or big complexes are to be examined in the required detail.
An important step has been: “The bye-laws empower Urban Local Bodies thereby empowering the third tier of governance system,” said Naidu. The urban local bodies (ULBs) have been given power to monitor the environmental concerns in their regions, according to a statement issued by the Ministry.
The urban local bodies present in different states have been empowered by the bye-laws to grant construction permits (within limits proposed). They would also monitor initiatives run by the government such as rainwater harvesting and solar power generation.
To make the environment sustainable, the laws provide for mandatory provisions for rain water harvesting for different types of buildings. It pens down new provisions regarding solar roof top power generation in cities. In addition, provisions have been inserted for the local body to provide incentives to individuals for rain water harvesting and roof top solar power generation through the offer of discounts and rebate in property tax.
The new bye-laws also define land rules, permissible construction area or FAR and height of buildings, among other aspects.
The target for clearing projects within a month’s time was arrived after Naidu conducted 7 high-level meetings with various ministers including the Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Civil Aviation, Defence, Consumer Affairs and Culture to streamline the process of approvals. As a result, the various ministries have taken considerable measures to ensure online and timely approvals.
Single window approval system is being developed to standardise and settle timelines for approvals and use of IT & GIS for automation of such systems, setting up nodal agency and empowered committees, Naidu added.
MBBL puts an end to the major hurdle in the eyes of the developers - that of govt authorities not approving projects on time.
The govt is making an effort to understand and weed out corruption possibilities in the regulatory mechanisms. Eventually integrating all necessary approvals via online process can contribute to a speedy development of not only real estate, but also support associated segments of the market such as banks, insurance companies, law firms, etc. in their dealings with the sector.
With RERA now set, it is just awaiting the Honourable President Pranab Mukherjee's signatures to make the bill active, and single window mechanism in place, developers must follow strict guidelines to make sure that buyers’ sentiments are not hurt and demand flow is kept intact.
Now, Indian real estate sector is being moulded to shape out for the better. With the hurdles being cleared away, project momentum is bound to pick pace allowing for a better performance of the sector. A greater transparency will dispel the unsolicited greed associated with the sector.