Faridabad Crosses 100 Smart Cities Hurdle But Stumbles On 20 Mark

It was not to be for Faridabad in the first round of funding for the ambitious Smart Cities project. Despite having a strong case and getting included in the list of 100 cities which are to be developed under this project over the next 5 years, Faridabad could not make in the final round which was essentially about selection of first 20 cities to receive funding in the first year. The Union Urban Development Minister, Mr Venkaiah Naidu, released the list on 28 January, 2016. These are:

1  Bhubaneswar, Odisha

2  Pune, Maharashtra

3  Jaipur, Rajasthan

4  Surat, Gujarat

5  Kochi, Kerala

6  Ahmedabad, Gujarat

7  Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh

8  Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh

9  Solapur, Maharashtra

10 Davangere, Karnataka

11 Indore, Madhya Pradesh

12 New Delhi Municipal Corporation

13 Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

14 Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh

15 Belagavi, Karnataka

16 Udaipur, Rajasthan

17 Guwahati, Assam

18 Chennai, Tamil Nadu

19 Ludhiana, Punjab

20 Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

Under the Mission, the cities which are included in the 100 list but could not make it to the list of first 20, are required to rework on their plans of development and submit fresh proposals. This is expected to happen as early as April 2016.

If one is to look at the success story of sover others, the focus seemed to be on usage of IT in governance, reaching out to the people and getting citizens to participate in generating opinion, having firm plans in place to use non-motorised transportation systems such as bicycles and other measures to promote clean and healthy urbane life.

It is not known what made Faridabad lose out but one shall take into account the fact that this was an all-India competition and only 20 were to be selected out of 100. It is not that Faridabad is not going to get its share, the only regret is that it will get it a little late.


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Property Registration below Circle Rates, Income-tax Panel Moots Changes in Law

In a welcome gesture for the property sellers and buyers of Delhi, the Delhi High Court, in a landmark verdict, has said that properties can be registered below the prevailing circle rates. Going against the popular practice of registering properties at circle rates in order to avoid tax incidence, the Court noted that there could be any number of factors which might warrant sale of property at less than the prevailing circle rates. The Court specifically pointed out instances of poor location, disputed property, etc to highlight the fact that property can be sold for less.

In an unrelated incident, there has been news of circle rates being fixed higher than even the market rates of properties in some areas of Noida. As a result, the buyers are not showing an interest in their purchase, resulting in higher inventories being piled up by builders. This incident is sufficient to highlight the fact that holding circle rates sacrosanct could lead to real practical problems in property transactions. There can be situations when fixing circle rates go against the market dynamics and sentiments related to property purchases.

Circle rates are generally increased by the governments in order to thwart speculative increase in property prices and to check the circulation of black money. By increasing these rates and registering properties at these values, there is increased collection of stamp duty. Income Tax department also holds these rates as a pointer to assess the capital gains. If registered above these rates, the difference is taken for tax calculation. If registered for less, as the current HC ruling would allow, the situation can become a bit complex because, the said property transaction would come under the purview of Collector of Stamps who would then decide on whether it was correct to register at below circle rates. Since the complexities could increase if properties are registered below circle rates, Income Tax panel has suggested deletion of the clause in this respect in the IT Act.

As per Section 50 of the IT Act, if property is sold for less than Circle Rate, it becomes chargeable in hands of both the seller and the buyer, as per an amendment from 1 April, 2014. It becomes taxable in hands of seller as ‘Capital Gains’ assuming Circle Rate to be Sale Price under section 50C. However, if the assessee asserts that the market rate is genuinely lower than circle rates, then the valuation is to be done by the Valuation Officer and the value so ascertained would be considered its Sale Price.

However, under Section 56(2) of the IT Act, it also becomes chargeable in hands of buyer. The difference between actual purchase price and the circle rate or valuation conducted property is more than Rs 50000, then tax incidence under would be attracted in the hands of buyer. It will be chargeable under Income from Other Sources in the hands of buyer.

The Committee formed for Income Tax Simplification has pointed out that Section 56 (2) of the IT Act works on presumption that buyer would have paid consideration higher than the declared sum to the seller. This presumption is against the judicial interpretation and the committee has suggested its deletion. This is also keeping buyers away from those markets where circle rates are higher than the market prices because they will be taxed under ‘Income from Other Sources’ if difference is more than Rs 50000.


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Smart City Faridabad- What is in the Offing?

With the selection of Faridabad for development as a Smart City, there is a positive sentiment all around the city as people expect better urbane facilities from the government and consider themselves a part of better governance. In a follow up to this development, the city municipality has firmed up an action plan on what needs to be done. About Rs 1468 crores would be spent in the next five years with Rs 500 crores each being contributed by the Central and the State Government and the rest being funded by local municipalities from their profits. The city administration has been inviting proposals from its residents through different channels in order to know their needs. This is in keeping with the spirit of citizen participation in this project.

Suggestions were invited from Faridabad residents through online and social media channels. Even schools were roped in to ask parents to send their suggestions on a paper having some questions.

So, what are the key point which the government is considering at this stage?

  • Retrofitting Model to be implemented in select Sectors (21A, 21 B, 21C, 28, 29, 30, 19 and 16). This will involve reworking on electric and telephone lines, cemented roads and many other measures which can improve already existing infrastructure to make it more durable, sustainable, safe and environment friendly.
  • Better IT connectivity throughout the city. This is another high point of the Smart Solutions which will also help in attracting IT companies in this city, improving employment opportunities for the talented youth of the city who now have to travel to Gurgaon, Delhi or Noida for work.
  • Energy efficiency to be achieved with at least 10 percent contribution from Solar Energy. Initiatives were taken as early as June 2009 when Faridabad and Gurgaon were approved to be developed as Solar Cities. About Rs 50 crores were sanctioned by MNRE/GOI for this purpose for Faridabad. Municipal Corporation of Faridabad had hired TERI for developing a Master Plan for 5 Years for this purpose.
  • Setting up of a University. This is a long standing demand which, if fulfilled, will go a long way in making it an all-inclusive educational city. Right now, degree courses are done essentially from colleges under MDU, Rohtak. With industrial background and already existent schools and vocational training centres, this will help in meeting both the education and employment requirements of students.
  • Improvement of solid waste management
  • Smart Public toilets. This is in keeping with the spirit of nationwide Swacch Bharat Abhiyan.
  • Toll-free integrated helpline to help citizens in more than one way. It is expected to develop this service on lines of 911 emergency services of United States of America.
  • Provisioning of no-vehicle zones for better traffic management
  • Provision of separate pathways for pedestrians which are safe and can accommodate good numbers
  • Encouragement to non-motorized movement of people with a series of measures
  • Slum rehabilitation to ensure better livelihood

This list is not exhaustive and we invite the readers to add more to this list.

With focus turning back on Faridabad and better urban life awaiting its residents, a fresh boom for property is expected. With predominantly resident population, better environmental pollution levels than neighbouring Delhi, lowest priced property in NCR region, connectivity with the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial corridor and now inclusion in Smart Cities project, Faridabad will become a cherished destination for peaceful living in clean and green surroundings.


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How Faridabad Clinched the Smart City Deal?

For a city to be selected for the Smart Cities Mission of the Central Government, it is required that the State shall submit a list of cities which would then compete to get selected. The Central Government allocates number of cities within a state or union territory for this purpose. Haryana has been allocated 2 cities under this project. With many cities vying for being in the coveted list which has the potential to transform the way people live in these cities, there was very tough competition. These 8 competing cities were Gurgaon, Palwal, Faridabad, Yamunanagar, Hissar, Sonepat, Panipat, Rohtak and Karnal. Assessment was based on about 13 different parameters with total score of 100.

All representative cities were required to give presentation to make a case for their inclusion. At the end of this exercise, Karnal and Faridabad made it to the top spot beating Gurgaon, the neighbouring city of Faridabad of the Millennium City fame.

So, how did Faridabad fare better than Gurgaon, in particular, and other cities of the State, in general? Well, some of the reasons are related to its achievements while some others are attributable to failures of others. Some experts also point to the political bias and other considerations, which can be kept aside for sometime for the sake of purely practical assessment. The presentation was given to a team headed by Haryana’s Chief Secretary Deepinder Singh Dhesi.

Faridabad was not only ranking better than other cities of Haryana but also of the other NCR cities. Some of the main reasons which went in its favour were:

  • Ability to generate revenue by MCF, making it financially sound. It shall be remembered that a portion of the Smart City project finance is required to be funded by the local bodies of that city. To that end, this becomes a performance criteria which MCF was able to highlight quite effectively.
  • Online Grievance Redressal System and e-bulletin are in place. This is another achievement considering the fact that a lot of emphasis will be laid on e-governance and IT penetration in the project.
  • MCF’s payment of salaries to its employees by June 30 is another point which went in its favour.
  • Completion of Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission’s three projects out or sanctioned four. These pertained to sewage system revamping, sewage treatment, drainage works in old town area and solid waste management project.

Gurgaon lost due to a number of reasons. Despite being a good source of revenue generation for the entire city, it lost on account of a number of factors. Some of these are:

  • Weak municipality
  • Multiplicity of authorities
  • Non-qualification for JNNURM ever in the past
  • Poor property tax collections

Some people have also pointed to the fact that Gurgaon never had a great political influence in Haryana, whereas Faridabad stood to gain for its ‘industrial town’ ethos.

All in all, it is never too late for any city but it does show shortcoming in local governance for those which could not make it and alerts them to what they stand to lose if they do not improve. For the winners also, it will be a challenge to keep up the good work and improve further to provide better urban life to its residents.

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Criteria for Selection of Smart Cities

Selection of 100 Smart Cities is based on two levels of competition. First, at the State or Union Territory level, leading to selection of cities. Second is for priority-based funding out of these 100 cities.

First Level of competition which is to be held at the State or UT level wherein each city would make its presentation in front of a team of panelists. This level requires completion of some conditions which precede the point-based evaluation criteria.

  • There are four conditions to be satisfied by each city, such as
  • Undertaking by the State to make City Smart,
  • constitution of inter-departmental task force including ULBs, UDAs and para-statal bodies to achieve this objective,
  • resolution by the elected council of city to make the City Smart, and
  • holding consultations with the residents on development priorities.

These set of conditions are required to be fulfilled at first. After this, case of each city was considered against the following parameters:

  • 13- point parameter for ranking cities are


Existing Service Levels Points
Increase on number of household sanitary latrines over Census 2011 or Swachh Bharat baseline (whichever is less) 10
Operation of Online Grievance Redressal System with provision of response being sent back to complainant 5
Publication of at least first monthly e-newsletter 5
Information on Project-wise municipal budget expenditure for the last two financial years to be placed on website 5
Institutional Systems/ Capacities
Compensatory penalty levy for delays in service delivery 5
Collection of internally generated revenue during the last three FYs (2012-15) 10
Payment of salaries by ULB up-to last month 5
Audit of accounts up-to FY 12-13 5
Percentage contribution of tax revenue, fees and user charges, rents and other internal revenue sources to the ULB Budget (actuals in 2014-15) 10
Percentage of establishment and maintenance cost of water supply, which is met by collected user charges for supply of water during last FY (2014-15) 10
Past track record and reforms
Percentage of internal revenue sources (self-generated) budget funds used for capital works during FY (2014-15) 10
Percentage of City-level JnNURM Reforms achieved (Form2, Part 14) 10
Percentage of JnNURM projects completed, which were sanctioned during the original Mission period (upto 2012) 10


Once the cities are selected, the next level is of financing. These 100 cities will formulate Smart City Plans which will also be evaluated on the basis of following parameters. Top 20 scorers will be financed during the first year and remaining 80 would be selected in batches of 40 each for financing during next rounds.

Criteria for Evaluation of City Plans

  • At City-level,
    • Credibility of Implementation- Average time taken for approving building plans, rise in property tax assessment and collection, water user charge collection, power supply improvements, traffic congestion easing, using IT for statutory form access and submission, etc.
    • Vision and Strategy- Use of Information, Communication technology to  improve delivery of public service, core economic activities and inclusiveness.
  • At Proposal- level,
    • Impact of proposal- on poor and disadvantaged. Employment generation, impact on environment, etc.
    • Cost effectiveness
    • Innovation and Scalability
    • Processes followed
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Smart Cities Project- Core Objectives Which a Smart City Would Achieve

Smart Cities Mission of the Central Government is based on the fact there is rapid urbanization taking place which will see many cities emerge. Currently, about 31 percent of India’s population lives in urban areas which contribute to more than 60 percent of national GDP. In next 15 years, at current pace of urbanization, about 40 percent of population will live in cities contributing about 75 percent to our GDP. With this in view, it is important that cities develop in a well-planned manner to not just house these people but also to sustain pressure on land, be economically and environmentally viable and sustainable and shall provide ‘Smart Solutions’ to people.

The core of this Mission revolves around 2 themes:

  • Presence of Core Infrastructure Elements, and
  • Smart Solutions

Core Infrastructure Elements, as defined in the Mission Statement document of this project are:

  • Sufficient Water Supply
  • Assured Electricity
  • Good Sanitation and solid waste management
  • Efficient urban mobility and public transportation systems
  • Affordable housing with poor in view
  • IT connectivity
  • Good Governance, based on e-Governance and participation of citizens
  • Sustainable environment
  • Safety and security of citizens
  • Health and Education facilities

Smart Solutions, as defined in the document are indicative and could include more. These are:

E-Governance and Citizen Participation Energy Management Waste Management
Public Information Smart Metres & proper management Converting waste to energy and fuel
Grievance Redressal Renewable energy focus Converting waste to compost
Electronic service delivery Energy efficient buildings Treatments of waste water
Citizen Participation Green Buildings Recycling of C&D waster
Video Crime Monitoring    
Urban Mobility Water Management Miscellaneous
Smart Parking provisions Smart Metres & Mgt Tele-medicine
Intelligent traffic mgt Leakage plugging Tele-education
Multi-modal integrated transport Preventive maintenance Trade facilitation centres
  Water Quality Monitoring Skill Development Centres

To begin with, the project will cover 100 cities in a 5 year time period. This will be done with a three-pronged approach of either city improvement, or city renewal or city extension. Besides, there will be implementation of Smart Solutions mentioned above with Pan-city initiatives. Please note that Pan-city solutions will cover entire city irrespective of which model of development is being used for it. Let us take a little deeper look into these 3 strategies of development of Smart Cities.

City Improvement, which has become famous by the name of Retrofitting, will be initiated in an already developed area to make it more efficient and liveable. Within a city, an area of 500 acres would be identified in consultation with the citizens of the city for implementing retrofitting initiatives. The laying of cemented roads in some sectors of Faridabad which you would be noticing is a part of this project. Sectors 21 A, B, C, 28, 29, 30, 19 and 16 of Faridabad are being developed under the retrofitting model.

Redevelopment, the second approach, would seek to replace an existing developed environment with a view to create new layout with mixed land use and increased density through higher FSI and high ground coverage. An area of 50 acres would be identified for this purpose by Urban Local Bodies in consultation with the citizens of the city.

Greendfield City development, the third approach, will be carried out in a new area of more than 250 acres which has not been developed yet. These would be developed around the existing cities with affordable housing for the poor and to absorb rising population of existing cities.

Selection of Cities

For this project selection of cities is to be done based on spirit of “competitive and cooperative federalism”. Each state will be allocated a quota of cities to be developed. And, the cities within a state or union territory would compete with each other to be selected. These will have to make a presentation for their eligibility to get selected.

The top five states with highest number of quota for these cities are:


Uttar Pradesh 13
Tamil Nadu 12
Maharashtra 10
Madhya Pradesh 7
Karnataka and Gujarat 6 each


State of Haryana has been allocated 2 cities. Faridabad and Karnal have won over others for this Mission. (read here on how Faridabad made it to the list)



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Increasing Need of Green Homes in India

Real estate development across the world gets remarkable increases specially youth in emerging countries are imposing immense pressure on the environment and its natural resources. With such kind of rapid development, there are some prominent factors are on stake for instance availability of energy and environmental sustainability. After research, we find real estate is one of the biggest contributors to global warming as it spreads out widespread pollution during the construction process.

In such scenario, green housing and eco-friendly homes are highly appreciated as they are utilized to minimize the opposing impact of construction and such green surrounding help endorsing healthier living for people. It has been proved that living in conservativehomes has not been working favourable to residents, either it’s a matter of living standards or the cost of excessive energy consumption. Green constructions not only enhance the quality of life but also reduce the cost of living, as these buildings compriseexpressivelylesserfeeding of energy, water and other resources.

The generaladvantages of green buildings depend on the degree to which defensiblestructures are included during the early planning and design. Because of the collectivecuriosity in the conception by home buyers, many developers have started sponsoring projects under the category of eco-friendly homes. It is important for developer to attain the certification from the green rating systems (GRIHA) followed in India.

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How Real Estate Investment Offers You Best Returns

Real estate remains to be one of the most preferred investment ways. One common cause of desirability is apparently enormous returns in real estate. Many investors use Mutual funds as a stepping stone. But usually it happens, once people reach at some good amount they again prefer to invest in yet another real estate.

Different people has different perspectives as some people feel good investing at some physical asset or something which they can touch let’s say a home as they are aware of the worst period of stock market and they find its better to invest in real estate while other get involved in investing in share market. So, every investor is on a different phase of learning curve. At times, you need to take risk or change as you may get far better returns after having experience of something new. Some people learn by observation and some people learn only by experience.

One should make anobjectivecentred investment that is profitable and flexible too. Once you for real estate investment, you need to pay only 20% from yoursavings and rest of the payment is done by banks by doing so you can have really luxury home even after paying a nominal amount. For instance, if you buy property of 2 Cr. Initially you need to pay 40 lakhs only and after 5 years’ time or so you will be able to sell off your property at 2.4 cr. This is how, you find it such a great investment even after having a least amount in your hand.

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Which Property Suits you the Most Among Plots Flats and Villas

When you finally decide to purchase your home, you might have lots of queries in your mind like whether you should invest in a plot, villa or flat. Apart from monetary determinants, there are many other factors that add to the obsession of each of these options. There are pros and cons of plots, villas and apartments that make difference in our choice and suitability. Nothing can be compared with the satisfaction after having home of our choice and at our favorite location. Let’s say plots are one of the most flexible options that give us chance to build our home in our own way. After buying plots, you have the freedom to build extra floors, modify the interiors and exteriors according to the latest trend and the area later if you want more space then you can avail more as per your need.

If we compare plots with flats we find the rate of return is greater as of the difference of demand-supply and the supply of plots is lesser as contrast to that of flats. A large portion of the residential buyers in India have a preference of flats over plots. The main reason being large numbers of options are available for apartments and lesser initial investment required. If you go for flats or apartments you get various extra benefits in the form of benefits such as swimming pool, club house, landscaped gardens, gymnasium, play area for kids, sporting centers such as badminton court, tennis court and basket ball court etc. On the other hand, there is another amazing option of villas that gives us combined benefits of plots and flats. The independent houses give us great freedom but without the headache of huge investment, efforts and time for construction.  These complexes offer common facilities as well as private amenities such as terrace gardens. Hence, we have all types of properties have their own benefits and drawbacks. To get the maximum benefits and best deal, you will come to know about the best deal.

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Essential Things to Know Before Investing in a Luxury Apartment

The moment reasonable and mid-segment group housing market was observing a descending trend among 2011 and 2013, lavish realty was moving on a speedy lane. India witnessed Rs. 10,000 crore worth of premium houses launched across the country in 2012-13. More, prior to investing, one must understand the calculation of carpet area, built-up area and super built-up area. Carpet area is the area that comes up within the walls of the apartment, built-up area is an addition of carpet area and area occupied by the walls, super built-up area is a sum of carpet area, built-up area and common areas while ensuring that the apartment has sufficient carpet area. However, there are some more specific aspects that need to be checked.

Is the property away from any dispute – Most of the times luxury projects are caught by arguments. At times, there are there are delays in projects. You must check if the builder has given all the necessary approvals before going for an agreement. Further, you must check if the building plan is made as per the local authority. There should not be any conflict in construction plan according to government.

In House Facilities- You need to check the sufficient storage area and appropriate sizesof bedrooms and dining area. Having a double ceiling apartment would be most suitable if it is on top floor. Quality of sanitary and wooden work in doors and windows matters a lot.

Architectural Intensity- It is quite obvious that developers give high-end quality in luxury apartments. Go for a reputed builder. You will deserve pleasant sight that will allow you enjoy the beauty of nature. You will have lovely outdoor space, park, swimming pool. Interiors of apartments should allow sunlight to enter in home recently.

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