Friday, April 29, 2011

CREDAI calls for time-bound action to fight corruption

·       “We are hurt to be branded as corrupt”, says CREDAI President Lalitkumar Jain
·        Govt systems, procedures lead to frustration and corruption
·        Single window for clearances, code of conduct for developers mooted

Hurt and insulted by wild allegations of corruption against the real estate sector, CREDAI (Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India) has presented a time-bound programme to the government to tackle the menace.
The Confederation today presented a time-bound action plan to Union Urban Development Minister Mr. Kamalnath at the two-day 11th National Conference (NATCON) of CREDAI at Singapore.
Lalitkumar Jain (left) and other CREDAI
team members cheer Kamalnath
CREDAI national president Mr. Lalitkumar Jain, in his speech, regretted that the developer community was being branded as being corrupt and sought an appointment with the Prime Minister to discuss ways and means to check the cancer of corruption instead of indulging in blame game.
This country is, sadly though, rated to be one of the most corrupt nations of the world. Any citizen of this great country will feel hurt and humiliated. The Real Estate Sector is rated to be the biggest contributor to this notoriety. As a responsible citizen and an honest businessman I and all my colleagues in real estate feel greatly insulted,” Mr Jain said.
“With a great sense of responsibility I must say that we the developers are the victims of the system and not the beneficiaries," he said and lamented that the real estate sector was being branded as the breeding ground for black money and corruption.
“We hate this system which makes us look ugly”, Mr Jain said pointing out that it is the various government procedures and delays in clearances that rise to corruption. “We curse every person who exploits us to give us a legitimate permission which we deserve instantly and without any illegitimate demand.”
Delving into the issue of the long process of clearances, he said this process involved connecting with more than 150 people in about 40 departments of central, state government and municipal corporations. “After investing heavily in to land cost, even a day’s delay in approvals adds to the costs. And in desperation and when speed becomes important, the concept of speed money creeps in,” he pointed out.
“Each and every developer has to go through the frustrating processes of getting approvals and this is the mother of all problems. We have to obtain more than 40 certificates, NOCs, and clearances. This takes anything between 2 to 3 years. Each person in the system cashes in on the desperation of developers. As you all are aware, this business of ours is highly capital intensive,’ he said.
The McKinney report to the Government of India as long ago as in 2001 said that land approval related hurdles are costing 40% higher to home cost, he said.
Hence, instead of blaming it on anybody, CREDAI decided to get into the roots and find a solution as a top priority agenda and launched a revolutionary concept – Mission Transparency. The campaign, launched a month ago, has been evoking tremendous response from among not only stake holders, but the media, he said.
CREDAI presented two key documents to Mr Kamalnath at the NATCON – a compilation of best practices by some state governments that can be emulated by the rest of the country and a comprehensive checklist for approvals.
Mr Jain urged the Centre to have the Best Practices document circulated among all States by the Independence Day this year and finalise the comprehensive checklist by the next Republic Day after consultation with the various Central and State government departments and even the municipal corporations and development authorities across the country.
“One year from today, we should have the new systems in place to be implemented,” he said.
For the developer community, he said CREDAI would launch an aggressive nationwide campaign to sensitize the governments, NGOs, media and citizens at large on the issue. “It is our conviction that the developers are builders of the Nation as they will be the most important stake holders in urban development of the country. We also are responsible citizens of the country and will like to conduct our businesses with utmost diligence, dignity and above all honesty.
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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Corruption is a way of life

We are all corrupt!
The success of Anna Hazare’s fast against corruption raises many questions and the most important of them all is – who is corrupt and who is not!
I think as a nation, India is corrupt!
Given a chance quite a few of us would like to travel ticketless in trains and buses and feel elated over skipping toll nakas, traffic signals.
We blame the traffic police for being corrupt, but when we break the rules, we will instantly offer money to the police constable.
Shame that many of do carry Rs 50 note along with the driving license as if to save time in bribing a cop.
We crave for favours during school and college admissions and are prepared to pay donations even without a receipt and then we blame the school and administration for this corruption.
We take pride in rushing for a hit movie – 1st day 1st show – even by buying cinema tickets in black. I have been witness to a police officer buying ticket in black to favour a journalist.
Do we not find ways to evade income tax by negotiating with the CA?
Instances could run into hundreds and thousands.
I am convinced that corruption cannot be eradicated.