India : Government plans tax sops for green buildings

The plan is to give 3-7% rebate on property tax for such buildings across municipal corporations and councils

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government is planning to give tax sops to developers to incentivize construction of green buildings in both residential and commercial spaces.

The plan is to give 3-7% rebate on property tax for such buildings across municipal corporations and councils though the government is yet to define what exactly would make for a green or eco-friendly building.

“Currently, we are discussing what should be defined as a green building, whether we should give ratings to various measures and offer incentives accordingly among other things,” said an official of the state urban development ministry, who did not want to be named.

The official said the proposal is likely to be tabled before the cabinet immediately after the monsoon session of the assembly, which will begin on 13 July.

Currently, Pune is the only city in Maharashtra that gives such tax sops. At the national level, Noida and Chandigarh offers incentives for eco-friendly housing. The West Bengal government too had announced sops for green buildings in the state.

The civic bodies of Noida and Pune don’t just give property tax rebates, but also offer additional 5% floor space index (FSI). FSI indicates permissible area of construction in a plot.

Maharashtra is already offering developers a jump in queue for getting environmental clearance if they submit a proposal to construct a green building with features like sewage treatment plant, rainwater harvesting, garbage disposal within the building premises, use of solar power for lighting of common areas and for water heating among other things.

On an average, environmental clearances in the state take around 6-8 months though the by-law stipulates 90 days. In Mumbai, it stretches up to a year or 18 months

In India, the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), promoted by lobby group Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), is the leading agency that provides green certification to real estate projects. Its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system evaluates environmental performance over a structure’s lifecycle, providing a definitive standard for what constitutes a green building.

LEED is an internationally-accepted measurement system designed for rating new and existing commercial, institutional and high-rise residential buildings. The other rating systems are Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) by The Energy and Resources Institute and star ratings by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency.

“The proposal will encourage many developers to go for green building projects. This is the need of the hour. There has to be sheer effort and focus towards saving nature and energy conservation,” said Getamber Anand, president of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India.

He said the state government needs to do a lot more to promote green buildings. “For instance, Noida has proposed that for those who build stand-alone homes and bungalows conforming to green building practices, certain waivers and benefits should be given in the form of rebates on rent or leases. Besides, 5% increase on gross FSI is already granted to developers who build green buildings in Noida,” he said.

According to Rajat Malhotra, chief operating officer, West Asia, integrated facilities management at JLL India, a real estate services firm, the state needs better packaging of both incentives and regulations to promote green buildings.

“The combination of incentives and regulations will help adoption of green building projects. In Maharashtra, for developing every 30,000 square feet, the developer has to take environmental clearances. This is granted after undergoing an environmental impact assessment by various committees. For those who conform to green building practices, approvals are accelerated. However, more incentives need to be provided. Noida has led the pack in adoption of green buildings,” he said.

Source: Live Mint

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