A bill seeking to regulate the real estate sector, bring in transparency and help protect consumer interests was passed by the Rajya Sabha today.
Moving 'The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015' for consideration and passage, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said it aims to protect the interests of buyers and bring more transparency in the sector.
The Congress had extended its support to the Bill, which was passed by a voice vote in the House. It is touted as a major reform measure to regulate the vast real estate sector and bring order in it.
"The Bill is need of the hour," Naidu said, responding to clarifications by members saying it can see further changes in the coming times. He also sought the support of AIADMK members, who had opposed the measure.
He said the bill would prohibit unaccounted money from being pumped into the sector and as now 70 per cent of the money has to be deposited in bank accounts through cheques.
"There will be no discrmination of any kind on basis of religion, region, caste, creed or sex and gender and we will include that in the rules," Naidu said, responding to members' clarification, adding "there has to be single-window clearance for all approvals."
The Bill also provides for imprisonment of up to three years in case of promoters and up to one year in case of real estate agents and buyers for any violation of orders of Appellate Tribunals or monetary penalties or both.
Naidu said it proposed that a minimum of 70 per cent collections from buyers should be deposited in separate escrow account to cover cost of construction and land.
It will help establish state-level Real Estate Regulatory Authorities (RERAs) to regulate transactions related to both residential and commercial projects and ensure their timely completion and handover, the Minister said.
Appellate Tribunals will now be required to adjudicate cases in 60 days as against the earlier provision of 90 days and Regulatory Authorities to dispose of complaints in 60 days while no time frame was indicated in earlier Bill, he said.
"It brings in only a regulation and not strangulation.
This Bill is not against anyone...Real Estate Bill will renew investors' confidence and ensure timely completion of projects and create more opportunities. In this way, it will help in achieving the target of 'Housing For All'," he said.