New Delhi, March 20: The myriad approvals required for housing projects could come in two months instead of the current six if a “single-window” plan, under which one agency grants the permissions, takes off.
The proposal, mooted by the Centre to cut red tape and bring down the cost of houses, could pitchfork India and put it alongside Hong Kong, cited as a model in a recent World Bank study that ranked nations on ease in securing such permissions.
Currently, it takes around 196 days to get 34 clearances in India. The approvals account for nearly 40 per cent of a project’s cost, according to a separate study by consultancy firm Mckinsey.
The target for the Union housing ministry, which is pushing for the proposal after a panel suggested it, is to get the permits within 60 days.
According to the World Bank study, India is ranked 182 among 185 nations on getting construction-related clearances.
Hong Kong and Singapore took the first and second spots. In Hong Kong, only 6 clearances are required and they are given within 67 days. In Singapore, it takes only 26 days to secure 11 clearances. Hong Kong stood out because it has the “single-window” system, which in India could see local civic bodies grant all approvals.
At present, a builder has to approach authorities ranging from the local tehsildar near the project site to the Union ministries of environment or civil aviation in Delhi.
The housing ministry had in April last year constituted the committee to streamline approval procedures for real estate. The panel submitted its report last week.
“Single-window clearances will cut corruption and red tape. No official will be able to hold on to a file or clearance. Once clearances are fast-tracked, the cost of the project will come down, benefiting the consumer,” said housing minister Ajay Maken. The plan is for builders to fill a single form.
Builders welcomed the proposal. “Holding the land every extra day costs money. These clearances are like toll booths where the developer has to cough up money each time. This creates a shortage (of houses) and pushes up the price,” said Rajiv Talwar, vice-president of DLF Housing.