New Delhi: The ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation on Friday held consultations with stakeholders on the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill and the single-window approval system.

“Regulation in the real estate sector is the need of the hour," housing minister Venkaiah Naidu said. “This will bring more credibility to the sector on the lines of telecom, securities, insurance, electricity etc. It will ensure transparency in the real estate sector and make the sector more accountability."

The real estate Bill is likely to come up during the winter session of Parliament. The Bill was first introduced in Rajya Sabha in August 2013. It was then referred to a parliamentary standing committee. The committee tabled its report in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha in February.

“There is no proper regulation of the housing sector. Buyers do not have information available in a transparent manner. There are inordinate delays in projects and no provisions for penalties," said Amit Jain, director general of the Federation of Apartment Owners, a lobby group. “There are no standard real estate industry practices."

The Bill proposes to register real estate agents with clear responsibilities and functions, bring standardisation in the sector and provide consumer protection, transparency and ethical business practices in matters relating to sale and purchase of properties.

There are huge gaps in urban housing due to rapid urbanization. Naidu said there is a shortage of 18 million housing units in urban areas, out of which 95% is among economically weaker and low-income groups.

The Bill aims to boost growth in the real estate sector, which will also give a push to the government’s aim of providing housing to the entire population by 2022.

The ministry is also working on developing a single-window approval system for housing projects.

“I am aware of the lengthy and cumbersome process involved in housing project approval," Naidu said. “Central, state and urban bodies will play an important role in getting the process on board."

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