New policy coming in February to speed up nod for housing projects

NEW DELHI: The government will launch a new policy this month to ensure early clearance of urban infrastructure and housing projects as part of its initiative to improve ease of doing business in the country.

Addressing the India Investment Summit here, Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the government is keen on ease of doing business and is working on a scheme to facilitate quick approval of urban infra and housing projects.

The minister has held consultations with the six ministries, including Defence, Civil Aviation and Environment, for facilitating the approval process and quick clearances.

“Why should anybody come to Delhi for clearance, for NOC (no objection certificate) from the Airport Authority of India to have a house or building constructed in Hyderabad or in Thiruvananthapuram?” he asked.

These things are being worked out, the minister said.

“Within this month, during the Budget itself, we will be coming out with a scheme for early clearances for all these projects without referring them to Delhi. They can be decided by urban local bodies. The benchmarks are being decided and they will be announced shortly,” Naidu said.

The Urban Development Ministry is also impressing upon urban local bodies to go for a time limit of 60 days for project clearance.

The real estate industry has been demanding a single-window approval.

On the real estate regulatory Bill, the minister said the proposed law would help in “development and not strangulation” of the real estate sector.

Stating that quality issues and adequate infrastructure pull down GDP to some extent, he underscored the need for improvement of infrastructure for achieving inclusive and sustained growth of 9-10 per cent.

Naidu listed out major challenges for infrastructure development — finance, land acquisition, inadequate regulatory framework, delays in clearance, uneven private sector participation and pricing of infra service, among others.

Highlighting the need for increase in private investment, he said the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17) targets 50 per cent private participation in infra projects, up from 30 per cent in the 11th plan. An investment of USD 1 trillion has been estimated for building infrastructure and upgradation during the 12th Plan period.

Stating that infrastructure and housing projects require land, Naidu said: “Land is key for development. We cannot have projects without land acquisition.”

A number of road projects have been held up due to delay in land acquisition.