President’s Desk – GCCI Bulletin November 2017

GCCI President
Dear Members,
The demand for real estate projects has increased tremendously all over the country resulting in a lot of fly-by-night operators and irregularities in the real estate sector. Builders, agents have sprung up overnight, made money and disappeared in the shadows. Home buyers in India have been facing the brunt of stalling of housing projects over extended periods of time and many projects have not even seen the light of the day while investors and home-buyers have lost savings and peace of mind. Finally, the Government of India had to intervene and the RERA-misappropriation of funds, incomplete projects, sub-standard materials and construction and building collapses in many cases even in our state. Since many Goans have settled abroad, their property has been used by nefarious agents and brokers and sold multiple times to unsuspecting buyers. Cash transactions have even deprived the government of tax revenue. RERA, I am sure will bring in a standardization in the real estate sector especially the housing sector.
Real estate market is generally cash driven. Demonetisation had already taken the wind out of the sails of the cash economy and the real estate sector has no doubt been affected by this. On the bright side, demonetization has also helped resurrect the housing sector as banks now have surplus funds. So it is favorable for home loan aspirants as affordable home loans are crucial especially for first time buyers. RERA and GST are two of the most significant regulations to be ushered into this unregulated sector.
GCCI organized a meet-up between all stakeholders affected by RERA promoters, builders, contractors, architects, civil engineers, real estate agents. They were all unanimous in supporting RERA as it is expected to streamline the entire sector. The Act makes it mandatory for all the projects to register with RERA. Home buyers, as well as investors in commercial projects, will have access to implementation details, approvals obtained etc. along with a mechanism to ensure speedy redressal of complaints. Ambiguity will be wiped out and standardization of procedures will happen. GCCI compliments the central government on this progressive reform and the state.
GCCI has also brought certain ambiguities and discrepancies to the notice of the authorities. E.g mandatory registration of a cooperative housing society by the builder before all buyers have paid in full, differentiation between a contractor and builder, the onus on authorities to provide requisite infrastructure for which fees and charges have been paid to the government etc., should also be specified in the rules. Similarly Govt. Departments/authorities concerned with issuing various permissions should be held accountable for the undue and unjustified delay on their part to issue permissions.
The main focus of the Act is to ensure timely completion of the housing projects. The responsibility of obtaining all permissions lies with the promoter. While GCCI endorses the Act, it does maintain that the law and the rules have to be balanced , a fair level playing field and infrastructure should be made available to the promoter and all stakeholders should be made responsible. If this is ensured, RERA will certainly ensure more homes for people, a healthy real estate market and more revenue to the government.
Six rivers of Goa were declared as National Waterways under National Waterways Act 2016. A lot of negative publicity has been propagated in the media saying that these rivers will be taken over by the Centre in the guise of development. GCCI organized a press conference and explained to the media that The National Waterways Act 2016 does not vest any right with the central Government or Inland Waterways Authority of India to use the water or the soil under the water and any decision on use of the river or its navigability will be taken in consultation with the state Government and the stakeholders.
The Chamber as a member of the High Level Committee of the Government on “Maritime Board” had made several representations for early formation of Goa Maritime Board, for the benefit of the trade. We strongly believe that the proposed Maritime Board will attract fresh investments for projects such as port-based industries, coastal tourism, logistics parks, warehousing, fisheries etc. The states of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat with functional Maritime Boards have made significant strides in these areas. With the Maritime Board in place the state would be in a better position for implementation of the development guidelines of IWAI for the six National Waterways.
Let us welcome and be part of any change which is for the betterment of our state and its people.

Download GCCI Bulletin November 2017