HOME BUYING in Mumbai just got a little less tedious. As part of the project to improve “ease of doing business”, India is targeting a rollout of the next set of reforms for faster purchase and registration of properties in the city for a higher ranking in World Bank’s annual assessment exercise.
After digitising land records of the last three decades and allowing property card extracts to be mined on a real-time basis, the state revenue department has rolled out an integrated e-portal where information on all checks pertaining to property will be available on a single platform.
“The portal (https://registeringproperty.mahabhumi.gov.in/) will serve as a one-stop shop for residents to look for titles, check records of rights and various mutations on land records, payment of property tax, electricity and water dues as well as search past history of transactions,” said state Settlement Commissioner S Chokalingam.
Information available with the Centre’s Registrar of Companies and Central Registry of Securitisation Asset Reconstruction and Security Interest of India (CERSAI) has also been made available, he added. While Delhi is also planning a similar reform, Chokalingam said Maharashtra is the first state to implement the reform.
In Mumbai, where land and apartment prices command a premium, purchasing a property is often cumbersome. With India yet to switch to a conclusive land titling regime, property buyers are required to conduct elaborate title searches, legal searches and financial checks to verify whether the property being bought is clear and marketable. The portal will allow all of this to be done on a single platform, reducing visits to multiple offices and agencies, and also cutting down time taken and procedures before registration.
As World Bank’s ease of doing business rankings for India are assessed based on data collected from Mumbai and Delhi, the performance of the two cities is key to improving overall ranking. In the 2020 rankings, India had jumped 14 places to the 63th spot, riding mainly on the re-engineering of the building approvals system in Mumbai and improvement in the land administration index in both the cities.
But on the ease of registering a property, Mumbai was still lagging at 154th place. As per the World Bank’s assessment, released earlier this year, it still takes 58 days and nine steps to complete the purchase and registration of a property in Mumbai. About 8 per cent of market value of the property is spent in completion of these procedures, according to the bank’s estimates.
After the roll out of the e-portal, Chokalingam claimed that the total number of procedures would come down to six.
On January 3, the BMC had re-engineered the process for name change in its property tax records, permitting capture of property transfer data on real-time data from the sub-registrar’s office. Till last year, it would take about a month for mutating the property tax record. But following the implementation of this reform, the government has claimed that this can now been done instantly or within three days.
Chokalingam contended that the implementation of the two reforms had brought down the time taken to register a property in Mumbai from 58 days to just 28 days.
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