The cost of Air Pollution

Air pollution has been a matter of concern for everyone living in the country, especially against the news of thick haze that has been engulfing cities like Delhi. The air quality went from moderate to poor to severe, and the situation only seems to deteriorate. While everybody has the right to breathe clean air, the unfortunate part is that it has now become a luxury. Therefore, the need of the hour is to start today, so that our future generations can have access to clean and pure air without any worry. Dr. Rahul Bahot, consultant chest physician, Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai says, “Air pollution causes increase in 1) Asthma attacks; 2) Acute bronchitis; 3) Worsening of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD); 4) Increases the chances of a stroke; 5) Increases the risk of ischaemic heart disease”. He also goes on to suggest the consumption of the following items to help curb the effects of air pollution: 1. Diet rich in vitamin D and E protects an individual from the aggravation of asthma and COPD; 2. The Mediterranean diet contains fiber, antioxidants, protein, and moderate amounts of fat – predominantly from mono-unsaturated (MUFA) and omega-3 PUFA. It is found to protect from the effects of smoking; 3. Intake of choline is found to reduce airway inflammation. The choline-rich food includes items like meat, eggs, poultry, fish and shellfish. The vegetarian sources of choline include peanuts and cauliflower; 4. Vitamin C, curcumin, choline, and omega-3 fatty acids offer some degree of protection from air pollution.

So, can we make the situation any better? Well, here are a few recommendations that one can follow in order to minimize the effect of air pollution on one’s health: Check the air quality of your city, this will help you gauge if it is safe to step outside for a prolonged time; If the pollution levels are high, do not exercise outdoors. A run or a jog outside in a polluted environment will do more damage than good; Children are easily affected by pollution thus ensure your child is playing outdoors only when the pollution is in check; Consume less energy – turn off the electronic items that you are not using, opt for a carpool or public transport, if the place is at a walkable distance then walk or ride a cycle. This will ensure you do not add more to the pollution you are trying to avoid; Air pollution is highest during the day when the sun is at its peak, so plan your outdoor activities early morning or late evening;

Source: Times Property, Saturday 19 January 2019

RERA panel seen in favor of easing Registration rule

The committee constituted to remove difficulties in the implementation of the Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016, is planning a change in Section 6 that deals with the extension of registration of the project beyond a year from the scheduled date of completion. The Forum for People’s Collective Efforts (FPCE), a pan-India homebuyers’ body, has objected to the proposed amendment as it believes this would lead to a dilution of the act aimed at providing protection to homebuyers.

“This is the focal point of the entire Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016, keeping in mind the homebuyers’ experience of projects delayed over the past few years. Also, it is to be noted that the Bombay High Court discussed Section 6 at length and held it to be constitutionally valid,” said Abhay Upadhyay, president of FPCE. “The court had, therefore, kept this section unchanged.” Upadhyay, who is also a member of RERA Central Advisory Council, insisted that any change to this section would be opposed vehemently by the homebuyers’ body at all the forums. Currently, the authority cannot extend the registration granted to any project for more than 12 months other than force majeure circumstances.

Source: The Economic Times, Thursday 24 January 2019

Tax department to now help you get home loan subsidy

The government is changing the dynamics for delivery of interest subsidy under the PM Awas Yojana in urban areas to reach out to several more beneficiaries ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Instead of getting first-time home buyers to wait at bank branches for subsidized loans, the government is tapping into income tax data to identify potential beneficiaries. They will then receive a certificate from the department, which they can use to get a subsidized loan, said the sources.

PM Awas Yojana is available to first-time home buyers with an annual income of up to Rs 18 lakh who purchase apartments or build houses. They are entitled to a credit-linked subsidy of up to Rs 6 lakh over a period of 20 years with the upfront concession of Rs 2.5-2.7 lakh. Till December-end 3.4 lakh had availed of the benefits under the scheme with officials suggesting that the number should be multiple times higher. Sources said that often beneficiaries are unaware of the benefits available or have to do a lot of running around to get the interest subsidy. “With the new mechanism, which will be like the 59 minutes loans for small businesses, we are hoping that many more people will be able to claim the benefit,” said a government official.

Source: The Times of India, Monday 30 January 2019

Building completion certificate: Process to go online by January end in Mumbai

In a bid to further improve the ease of doing a business status of the city, the building construction completion process will also go online by this month end. Under the current system, after a building is constructed, the developer or builder has to apply to the respective ward office for water and sewerage line connections to receive the final completion certificate (CC). After the CC is received, an occupation certificate (OC) is provided to the builder.

Under the new system, the application can be submitted online on the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai portal. Once the application is submitted, an alert will be sent to the respective ward offices. With this move, the civic body will also centralize the application procedure. A building CC is a legal document awarded by the building proposal department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), certifying that the new building has been constructed and completed, conforming to all the prescribed safety norms, including fire safety norms and regulations. Once the project is successfully completed, the local authorities inspect the premises on the basis of the original building plan submitted and award
the CC, subject to satisfactory scrutiny.

Source: The Indian Express, Saturday 19 January 2019

There’s no place like Home

The year 2018 was marked by improvement in sales, drop in prices and an increase in launches – state several recent reports. However, with 2019 being the last budget of the current government, experts believe it would be a growth-inclusive one with real estate not looking forward to big-bang. So, while buyers have typically been adopting a wait-and-watch approach in anticipation of further price correction, analysts predict a win-win situation for home-buyers who will invest right away rather than sit on the fence? According to Knight Frank India – Real Estate H2 2018 report, 2018 marks the first time in this decade when annual launch numbers grew y-o-y; The total new units launched in 2018 is estimated to be 182,207, which was higher by 75 percent as compared to the total units launched in 2017.

Experts Speak: The residential market in 2018 recorded a recovery after seven years, which was led by the affordable segment. However, the NBFC crisis created a liquidity crunch in the second half of 2018, which restricted sales. – SHISHIR BAIJAL, CMD, Knight Frank India; The reduction in GST slab is useful for the high-end and premium housing products. However, for budget and affordable housing, especially those under PMAY, it would be counterproductive. – AMIT GOENKA, MD, Nisus Finance; Home-buyers shouldn’t postpone their purchasing decision since the rate of interest is increasing consistently. Also, the supply in real estate is much higher than the demand and so, this is the right time to negotiate. NAGESH SHARMA, founder, Mera Loan Doctor; The decision on a new tax regime for under-construction apartments has now been referred to a group of ministers (GoM). Thus, I believe it is not the time to wait as the benefits are aplenty. – PRITAM MAHURE, chartered accountant and GST expert.

Source: Times Property, Saturday 19 January 2019

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