Lalit Kumar Jain: Bihar is better than Maharashtra for builders.

When it comes to ease of approval and a good bureaucratic set up for real estate, Bihar seems to be better opportunity than Maharashtra, according to Lalit Kumar Jain, real estate tycoon and president of Confederation of Real Estate Developer’s Association of India (CREDAI). Jain was speaking to DNA against the backdrop of the first ever all India CREDAI meeting to be held in Pune from Wednesday.

“In Bihar, the bureaucratic setup to get necessary sanction allows us to complete our projects on time. Thanks to the organised system there, the end buyer also pays less for real estate compared to Maharashtra,’’ he said.

The two-day conference, will discuss amongst other things, the various challenges faced by the industry in terms of approvals, government’s decision to reserve 20%flats for economically weaker section of society and other issues.

While commenting about various problems facing the industry, Jain saidthe apparent delay in the process of getting sanctions for the projects was a major concern. “In case, the sanctions are delayed, the cost of the project escalates which results in a burden on the customer,’’ he said.

The decision of the state government to compulsorily reserve 20% of the flats for economically weaker sections of society according to Jain would be have a negative effect on the industry. “To compromise on this, the builder will pass on the cost to other buyers who will feel the pinch,’’ he said.

Income Tax Department Procured Real Estate worth Rs 2,500 crore in a Fiscal

NEW DELHI: The Income Tax Department became one of the largest purchasers of real estate properties last year as it embarked on a mega expansion fling to spread its establishment for enhancing taxpayer services in the country.

The department, which has recently started a special drive to check frequency of black money in the country’s real estate sector, has acquired high-worth properties worth about 2,500 crore in more than 20 cities in the last year alone.

The largest possession by the department has been at the cost of more than 2,000 crore for the purchase of office space in the civic centre near the national capital’s marketing hub, Connaught Place. The civic centre is the tallest building in Delhi. The department has likewise purchased 56 staff quarters worth more than 89 crore at the pricey Bandra-Kurla complex in Mumbai.

“All the purchases have been done in order to inflate taxpayer facilities and to provide better living and working facilities for the department staff. No doubt the department’s purchasing power has been the largest in the last financial year.”  The department, with these possessions in the real estate sector has probably become the largest government department to acquire and create real estate in the country, the Income Tax commissioner said.

The shopping bucket of the department, has other high-profile acquires and possessions like creation of a training centre and hostel facilities for new comers of the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) at their alma mater – National Academy of Direct
Taxes (NADT) in Nagpur at the cost of Rupees100 crore.

In Chandigarh, the I-T department has purchased 5,000 acres of land for office space at the cost of more than Rupees 33 crore, a centralized air conditioned I-T office at Udaipur at the cost of more than Rupees 16 crore, acquisition of land for creation of office building for the department in Mumbai at about Rupees 23 crore and land measuring more than 9,500 sq m at Jamnagar, Gujarat for office building at  Rupees 8 crore.

Another set includes office building at Siliguri for 5.5 crore and a separate creation of 49 residential sectors and guest houses at Siliguri in excess of 10 crore. One more big acquirement by the department has been made at Muzzafarpur in Bihar for building staff quarters at the cost of more than 21 crore.

The department has also been sustained by the success of direct taxes (income tax) collection which was about 4.50 lakh crore in the financial year 2010-11. Despite the department paying 72,000 crore in refunds, the stout direct tax collection is the highest in any financial year.