It is a very good starting point but it will be an evolving process. I think that if the states supplement the effort then it will be a tremendous thing. The bill also provides for promotional activity by the state government — for instance, simplification of procedures that precede the launch of the project but do impact the ultimate price. I think all these processes can be improved and so efforts taken by state governments will address most of the issues of the consumer. Also it provides the consumers with a forum where they can approach. I also feel that intermediary bodies such as development authorities, municipalities, certifying licensing bodies will also have to be brought into self-discipline. That is very important and I hope that it is something that the regulator will actively promote.
The Maharashtra chief minister has written to your ministry regarding the Maharashtra Housing Regulator Bill. What is the current status?
The normal practice is that we write to the home ministry for a Presidential assent. We have already given our comments on the bill to the home ministry and when I last spoke to the secretary of the Maharashtra government, he said that they have received the comments and that they are examining and will comment on it. There are some differences in what has been proposed in the bill and what we have proposed in our Real Estate Bill, so we have requested the state government to examine it in light of the new Central legislation which is being proposed. I hope that since they are already examining the bill, they should be able to reconcile the differences and send it to us.
How do you see the real estate sector growing from here, once the regulatory bill is enacted?
The real estate sector will have to grow primarily because India has a housing shortage in all categories and therefore will have to play an important role over the next couple of decades at least. All our efforts should be to see that the sector grows, and grows healthily. With a fairly large middle class base with decent income levels that does not want to wait until retirement to move into their own home, I see, there will be good demand too.
How critical is the role of the government and regulations in the development of saleable land, building infrastructure around the land and pushing demand?
In the last