The Rajya Sabha passed a landmark Real Estate Bill on Thursday with a promise to secure the interests of homebuyers and developers in equal measure and remove corruption and inefficiency from the sector.
The Bill, which was amended to reflect the “views and suggestions of various stakeholders and political parties,” according to Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu, won approval from legislators across the political spectrum, a rare sight as the last two parliamentary sessions had ended in a whitewash.
Real estate contributes nine per cent to the national GDP and the Bill's passage was seen as crucial to ensuring better regulatory oversight and orderly growth in the industry. “The whole country is waiting for this Bill,” Congress leader Kumari Selja said. She said people had been falling prey to unfair practices in the absence of a regulatory mechanism.
The first draft was rejected last year by the Rajya Sabha, with Opposition leaders saying it favoured developers and did not serve the interests of consumers. After incorporating 20 amendments, Mr. Naidu said the Bill now sought to make “the consumer the king” and will also “encourage developers in an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence.”
Compared to the previous version of the Bill, in which constructions below the size of 1,000 square metres or 12 apartments were left out of the accountability ambit, the new Bill has reduced the size and exempts projects only below 500 square meters.