New Delhi: The Central Government has decided to come out with necessary notifications by the end of next month for streamlining approvals for construction projects in urban areas. This is being done to ensure time bound and hassle free clearances for projects. The decision was taken at a high-level meeting convened by Urban Development and Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister M.Venkaiah Naidu.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Culture Minister Dr.Mahesh Sharma and Cabinet Secretary P.K.Sinha besides secretaries and senior officials of eight related ministries were also presentat the deliberations. The ministers and the Cabinet Secretary reviewed the progress made by respective ministries towards enhancing ‘ease of doing business’ in urban areas since inter-ministerial consultations were initiated by Naidu a few months back.

Naidu said that the country is ranked low in terms of doing business in urban areas and there is an imperative need to improve the same in the context of efforts for sustained high rate of economic growth and other initiatives like Housing for All. Parrikar suggested a practical and realistic approach to fast track approvals for projects.

Cabinet Secretary Sinha said that streamlining of approvals need to be taken seriously to end cost and time over runs and harassment of project developers. He suggested to the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change to consider incentivizing compliance with the guidelines. He noted that official notifications in respect of agreed upon measures would go a long way in improving India’s rank on ‘ease of doing business’.

Ministry-wise initiatives to fast track approvals were as follows:

1.Ministry of Environment and Forests & Climate Change:

  • Guidelines for according Environmental Clearences are being further simplified based on the built up area and will soon be finalized;
  • Simplified guidelines could be incorporated in the bye-laws/regulations of States and Urban Local Bodies so that the Ministry need not be approached for clearences.

2.Ministry of Civil Aviation

  • Since 65 percent of applications for height clearences are in respect of major 12 airports, Colour Coded Zoning Maps of nine of these have been uploaded on website that would enable urban local bodies accord approvals without the applicants going to the Ministry;
  • CCZMs in respect of other 3 airports would be made available by end of December;
  • CCZMs of another 14 airports would be uploaded by the end of next year which would take care of over 90 percent of applications for clearances;
  • No Objection Application System (NOCAS-II) would be soft launched on 31st October this year and would be available for use of applicants and this would eliminate human interface for approvals.

3.Ministry of Culture

  • Website for online filing and grant of No Objection Certificate for buildings not falling in restricted areas of National Monuments has been made fully operational ;
  • Online approvals can be obtained using the ‘app’ developed by ISRO and the accuracy of the ‘app’ has been enhanced to a margin of error of only 1-2 metres;
  • Mapping of 600 monuments has been already completed that enables online approvals;
  • Heritage Bye-laws of 201 major monuments is being done on priority.

Secretary(Culture) demonstrated online approval and it was appreciated by all.

4.Ministry of Defence

  • All Services and Defence organisations have been directed to advise local military authorities and local units to provide details and maps of restricted and unrestricted areas to local municipal authorities;
  • Works of Defence Act is being reviewed along with framing of Ammunition Storage Policy to enable easy approvals;
  • Colour Coded Zoning Maps for defence airports under joint civil operations will be prepared after a meeting with all concerned is taken by the Minister of Defence.
  • Concerned defence establishments will accord required approvals with in 30 days from date of application.

Defence Minister said that subject to strategic and sensitivity considerations, necessary measures will be taken for fast tracking approvals for urban construction projects.

5. Department of Consumer Affairs

  • National Building Code-2015 will be finalized by the end of December this year keeping in view the requirements of quick approvals.

6.Ministry of Urban Development

  • Model Building Bye-laws have been prepared and the simplified guidelines to be proposed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests will be duly incorporated in the same.

Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion has suggested ‘Risk based’ approval system that places the onus on the applicant for any violation of undertaking given in respect of compliance with guidelines.

The Ministers and officials suggested strict penal measures for any violation of guidelines in the new architecture including demolition of constructions so made. Notifications in respect of the measures agreed upon and the implementation mechanism including empowerment of urban local bodies to accord approvals will be issued by end of next month.