Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Smart City Race

                                                                                      Evaluation criteria for Smart City plans firmed up:
Based on credibility, feasibility and citizen engagement, Smart City plans will be evaluated by the Urban Development Ministry for selection of first batch of 20 cities after detailed consultation with states and urban local bodies (ULB).

New exit rules may attract private players to smart cities:
Easier rules will come as a lifeline for fund-starved developers engaged in private township projects, New Delhi, with just 3% of NCT population, in Smart City race: The New Delhi area includes government offices, houses of officials and ministers, diplomatic missions, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Parliament House and SC. Ghaziabad has been selected in the initial phase of the Central government’s Smart City project and a consultant will prepare a detailed project report to move Ghaziabad into the second phase of the scheme.

‘Green building costs just 10% higher than conventional ones’: With Nagpur's name included in list of 'Smart Cities' in India, the city needs to conform to its strict guidelines to become eligible for the grants under it. One of the conditions is to have many 'green buildings' that are not only cost effective in long run but also helps owners to maintain good health, apart from helping to preserve environment by saving light and water.

Maharashtra wants Pimpri Chinchwad name in Smart City Mission list:
The state government had clubbed Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad while selecting 10 cities from the state. Lower Parel has edge in Smart City race:
The Smart City detailed project report for Mumbai, which is being prepared by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), is in its final stages, and senior civic officials said Lower Parel in South Mumbai was one of the strongest contenders for area-based development. Nariman Point, Andheri (W) and Fort are also being considered.

Dharamsala to be developed as Smart City:
The state government was mulling to develop Dharamsala into a 'Smart City' as it is an international tourist destination of the country.

The race between Rae Bareli and Meerut to get selected under the Centre’s Smart City Mission has gained impetus, with both the Rae Bareli MP and Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s office and BJP leaders from Meerut urging the UP government to take up their cause.
After the Union Urban Development Ministry announced that there was a tie between Rae Bareli and Meerut for the 13th ‘Smart City’ from UP and the state government was asked to take a final call, BJP leaders and Sonia’s office have both approached the government.

Let us see what the final list adds and what it deletes.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Real estate Regulatory bill

Real estate bill- All changes by Rajya Sabha panel accepted: The government is clearing the decks for passage of the crucial real estate bill in the forthcoming winter session of Parliament. The urban development ministry has accepted all the amendments proposed by a parliamentary committee and is readying to move the amended legislation for Cabinet approval and finally push it through Parliament.

Highlights of Real Estate Bill: 
All developers will have to register their projects with a real estate regulator. All states across the country will have one regulator which will settle disputes and impose compensation.
Neither housing nor commercial projects can be launched unless it got registered with the real estate regulator of the state. If the bill is passed in the Parliament, the ongoing projects, which are yet to receive completion certificates, will also have to abide by the same rule. Developers can't even advertise of their projects without prior registration with the real estate authority.
Developers cannot sell properties by showcasing the super area. Instead, the developers will have to disclose the carpet area before putting any advertisements.

The regulator authorities will monitor layout plans which should be declared during the time of registration of the project. Developers need to mention all details of contractor, architect, structural engineer, etc. associated with the project. Any buyer will get all information related to the project from the real estate regulator authorities. At least two-third buyers' consent to be needed if the developer wants to alter plans, structural designs and specifications of the building.

Developers will be responsible for structural defects and they need to refund money in cases of default. Any third party or broker, who are interested to sell flats or an apartment, will be asked to register their names with the regulatory body. The brokers also will be penalised for non-compliance.

Developers will have to pay refund with interest to buyers in case they fail to deliver projects on time. Promoters will have to deposit 50 per cent of the amounts collected from buyers in a separate bank account within 15 days. It will ensure that they will complete the project on time. The real estate regulator can impose penalty on developers if they violate any rules set by the authority. Projects can be de-registered and penalties might be imposed on the developer in such cases. Developers may have to pay a fine up to 10 per cent of project cost. Misinformation will attract fine of 5 per cent of project cost.

What are the changes/amendments made in the bill by NDA? Congress leader Ajay Maken in his blog highlighted a few points which actually irked Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders. Here are the points, which according to Congress, are problematic amendments to the bill. UPA had set the threshold of 70% of buyers' money which should be kept aside in a separate bank account by developers. The 70% money was to be used for construction cost. Now NDA reduced the amount and made it to 50%. In UPA's bill, builders were not allowed to make any changes in the plan of the project once it got clearance from the regulator. But now, they can make 'minor altercations'. Unlike the present bill, the previous bill had a clear definition of 'carpet area'. In NDA's bill, 'carpet area' definition replaced the definition of 'rentable area' which is used by the National Building Code. NDA's bill has a clause which may help developers in case of any delay of the project. Builders will not face penalties for delays due to "issue of completion certificate, approvals etc." Ajay Maken said that above mentioned clause can be misused easily by the developers.

Thus, even though the Real Estate Regulatory Bill is the step in the right direction, the government should put effort to bring in more clarity to make it really work for customers and developers alike.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Affordable Housing- Mumbai

Land identified in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) for affordable housing: The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) has identified land parcels spread over 1,100 acres across Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) for developing affordable housing projects. Maharashtra housing body earmarks 1,100 acres for affordable housing. The land parcels are in Thane, Raigad and newly formed district Palghar, which includes Vasai & Virar. Mumbai Metropolitan Region includes cities of Mumbai, Thane & Navi Mumbai.

After the decision of state government, about 30 developers have submitted proposals to build low-cost houses in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region along with government-owned agency.

Big names, with advanced technology in construction sector, would be roped in by the state government to construct five lakh affordable houses in Mumbai, in the next five years, fulfilling Prime Minister Narendra Modi's dream of providing affordable houses by 2022. Once these houses are ready, the ever-soaring cost of living in Mumbai shall automatically start sliding.

The land cost, the bulk of expenditure for any real estate project, will be minimum in this case as these land parcels will be allotted by the government to the state housing authority. The process of planning and drawing of a roadmap for these projects will be initiated after the land allotment.

The state minister of housing, labour and mines Prakash Mehta had last month announced that Maharashtra is considering opening up land parcels under the no-development zones as well as plots belonging to Indian defence personnel in an effort to build affordable houses in Mumbai. The Maharashtra government has already entered into an agreement with the defence ministry that will allow land under its control in Mumbai to be used for mass housing.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Govt Removes FDI Restrictions

Realty set for big revival as govt removes FDI restrictions:
The government recently removed all restrictions on foreign direct investments into the real estate and construction sector except for a three-year lock-in period for select projects, in a major boost to the cash-starved sector at this stage. This will have a huge positive impact on the housing sector as a whole, but much more so on the affordable housing segment, which was so far not a beneficiary of FDI in any significant manner. That is because the government has done away with restrictions on size and minimum capitalisation, meaning that FDI can now be brought into the construction sector in any amount and for any size of project. Also, there will now be no lock-in period for FDI investments into hotels and resorts, hospitals, SEZs, educational institutions, old age homes and NRI investments. The restriction that funds had to be brought into the country within six months of commencement of business has also been removed.

Bengaluru is top destination for real estate investments:
Nearly 13 per cent Rs 44,450 crore that PEs have invested in property market from 2013 have come to the city.

UP News:
Airport line tech to speed up work on Noida Metro:
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has tested and lifted the first 'U-girder', or U-shaped support beam, for the Noida-Greater Noida Metro alignment, and will install the first viaduct on the 29.9km corridor by the end of the year.
Girders directly bear the load of Metro tracks and the use of U-shaped ones have helped speed up construction work. The U-girders measure 27 metres in length which allows DMRC to use only two spans to install one segment of viaduct, whereas several spans of normal girders would have been required for installing the same viaduct. This technology was used by DMRC for the Airport line and the Badarpur-Faridabad corridor.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Collaborative Marketing

What is collaborative marketing? The collaborative marketing isn’t simply a new way of buying or selling: it’s a powerful movement in which people are getting goods and services from each other (what people call the “sharing economy”), or even making them outright (also known as the “maker movement”). Just as social media enabled peer-to-peer sharing of content, the technologies of the collaborative economy now enables peer-to-peer sharing of goods, services, transportation, space and money at a speed and scale that were unimaginable a decade ago.

Companies must be able to understand the customer insight and collaboration skills that they need to develop in order to compete effectively in the collaborative economy for years to come. Working as a team creates a powerful connection, not just as business owners, but as human beings. When people are connected in helping each other succeed they build a referral network that succeeds both online and offline.

We now have research to show that companies need to embrace the core innovations of the collaborative economy if they want to thrive in the era of Kickstarter, Uber and Taskrabbit. Forming strategic marketing collaborations with other businesses is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach new audiences. As customers are now coming forward to contribute their expertise, time, and resources in marketing exchanges in blogs, social media, and many interactive forums, we are witnessing the emergence of collaborative marketing.

Collaborative marketing is now becoming the process of working together with customers to create value in marketing exchanges. Some of the top companies that have used relationship marketing are required to think first about how to relate to their customers. In contrast, with the active customer, collaborative marketing requires companies to think about collaborating with customers, making sure they have an integral part in the company’s marketing activities. In collaborative marketing, the strategy network becomes the enabler of collaborative exchanges and goes way beyond relationship exchanges because companies involve mutual dependence and maximization of shared benefits to their customers.

If established companies want to tap the power of price, convenience and brand as competitive advantages in the era of the collaborative economy, however, they will have to embrace the lessons of sharing startups’ success. Companies that want to compete on price need to launch their own peer-to-peer marketplaces—like Walmart’s aftermarket for used video games—in order to reduce their customers’ total cost of ownership. Companies that want to offer customers the benefit of convenience can provide the ancillary services and products they need—the way Home Depot now lets its customers rent tools and equipment. And companies that want to leverage the power of their existing brand to attract sharing customers need to find ways to offer their traditional products via ownership or access—just as BMW has done, by introducing the DriveNow service that lets people get BMW vehicles when and where they need them.

The biggest challenge for most new brands is lack of awareness — which is why more than 80% of businesses recognise “finding new customers” as one of their biggest challenges to growth. This need, combined with limited budgets, is what drives a number of savvy brands to explore marketing collaborations to fuel their business. But collaboration remains one of the best-kept secrets of the entrepreneurial world.

More than 60% of start-ups and small businesses are working together to find new customers because it can be one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to grow a business. At one end of the scale, businesses are co-creating completely new products, or running whole marketing campaigns or on-pack promotions together. At the other end of the scale, savvy start-ups get together with other brands to promote each other’s brands and share each other’s products to expand their own reach.

Collaborative Marketing, in a nutshell, is the process of sharing resources to increase leads, brand, and influence. Not surprisingly, the Internet has made the option of collaborative marketing easier than ever. Are we ready for this paradigm shift? The answer to this question must be well thought out and carefully planned before we begin this new collaborative endeavor. If done correctly and utilized properly, this could grow our business exponentially.