MahaRERA chairman Gautam Chatterjee on Tuesday, while speaking at an online event organised by Moneylife Foundation, said that the Maharashtra government’s pragmatic decision to reduce stamp duty rates has resulted in a quantum jump in sales registrations, across Maharashtra. He said that in the past quarter, MahaRERA has registered around 1,200 new projects which exceeds even new launches in the corresponding period last year. The sector seems be coming back on track, after a difficult year for builders and consumers. He was speaking at the web release of Moneylife Foundation’s report on “Efficacy of RERA in India” - a research initiative supported by HDFC Ltd. Union minister for housing and urban affairs (MoHUA) Hon Hardeep Singh Puri, released the report and addressed the event.
Mr Chatterjee said that the set of 20 recommendations made in the report are apt, mainly the ones related to execution of orders passed by Authorities and adjudicating officers, enhanced disclosures, empowering RERA Authorities to issue directions to all stakeholders, strengthening the Act's provisions to enable completion of stalled projects, single-window clearances by competent authorities, ensuring quality standards, creating central repository of data, need for RERA perspective in IBC (Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code), etc.
He also pointed out that AIFORERA (All India Forum for RERA Authorities) has come up with recommendations on amendments needed and these are very similar to the recommendations made in the Moneylife report. He shared that about a year back, the majority of the RERA Authorities got together and established AIFORERA to undertake initiatives for furthering of RERAs across the country, to come together to solve common issues and discuss best practices. AIFORERA, through a consultative process also deliberated upon necessary amendments required in the Act.
As per the latest data, MahaRERA today has 27,700 registered projects, 27,000 registered agents and 13,000 complaints, of which 8,900 have been decided. He confessed that this pendency of over 4,000 complaints is certainly disconcerting and, hence, MahaRERA has decided to further activate the conciliation forum to first attempt resolution of these pending complaints through the conciliation process.
Mr Chatterjee explained “Analysis of the data (of complaints filed in MahaRERA) showed that interestingly, 94% of the complaints filed pertain to pre-RERA ongoing projects. The worrying thing is that only 50% of preRERA ongoing projects have been completed till date.” He expressed that perhaps this pain of transition would last much longer than what was initially expected.
Interestingly, the challenge posed by Covid-19 has helped MahaRERA expedite the expansion of its digital footprint to cover the whole gamut of quasi-judicial complaints management on online mode, viz., online filing, uploading written replies, rejoinders, affidavits and all other documents, online monthly cause-lists, virtual hearings, online roznamas and digitally signed orders, taking a further step towards MahaRERA’s vision of a zero footfall and paperless office. He further added that after a brief three-month disruption, MahaRERA through its virtual hearings has adjudicated 1,032 cases in six months which was more than the six months during normal functioning pre-COVID.
According to him, the quasi-judicial regulatory authorities will undoubtedly facilitate development of this very important sector, when projects registered with Authorities get completed in a time-bound manner, while the regulatory mechanism ensures transparency through mandatory disclosures in public domain while enforcing financial discipline and building trust between various stakeholders, while redressing grievances.
The MahaRERA chairman stressed that, from day one, MahaRERA has sincerely tried to implement the Act in letter and spirit, keeping project completion as the primary aim. He pointed out that MahaRERA has many firsts to its credit—“Establishing a 100% digital platform, creating conciliation forum, ensuring quality in workmanship by introducing a mandatory Form 2A quality certification by project engineers and taking up skill training for workmen, making membership of MahaRERA registered SROs mandatory for promoters, for bringing in professionalism. I am glad that MahaRERA, the only RERA with an ISO 9001 certification, has empowered prospective home-buyers to make an informed choice while deciding on their home purchase.”