CHAPTER 2

THE ESSENTIALS: Resources that can facilitate impactful reporting on corporates

  • This chapter will equip journalists on how to find and use information related to real estate projects across the country and how to report effectively on them

πŸ’‘Pro Tip: We suggest you open the websites that have been hyperlinked and explore them simultaneously while following the directions mentioned under each section. Or you can use the corresponding chapter from the video book to guide you. This step-by-step guide complete with examples of how this information can lead to a good story has been compiled by journalists and researchers for whomΒ  this is daily practice.

Currently the chapter can be downloaded as a PDF document in English. We are working on translations in other Indian languages.

The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) data is a great source of information to dig details on projects in the real estate industry.

Under the RERA, all commercial and residential real estate projects have to be registered, except those whose area of land does not exceed 500 square metres. Financial statements of projects are also required to be submitted and once registered, builders or promoters are asked to submit quarterly reports on the progress of projects.

Each project is given a registration number which the project has to mention on all its documents and advertisements. The RERA registration number can be used to track project status on RERA sites.

The underlying principle of RERA, explains John Samuel Raja, co-founder of How India Lives, is that if you are a real estate developer, you have to ensure that you have all regulatory approvals in place before you can ask the public to invest in and buy your property. Real estate developers must have got all the necessary permissions, the land title clearances, approvals for building plans.

Each state has its own RERA website and you can search RERA Uttar Pradesh, RERA Chhattisgarh, RERA Maharashtra, and so on for state-wise data.

Although data on RERA varies from state to state, there is some basic information that can be found on RERA state sites:

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ State RERA rules and guidelines.

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ State annual reports on RERA which will give data on number of project registrations, rejections, complaints, concilations, real estate agents, etc.

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ Status of registered projects, registered real estate agents, Self Regulatory Organisations and promoters.

How can one use RERA data in their journalistic work?Β 

RERA is a relatively new source of information.Β  Because each state has its own Act, and its own website for this information, there is no centralised information available.Β 

However, there are many stories possible from this source of information, according to John Samuel Raja:Β 

πŸ“ First, using this data, reporters can track the industry for specific districts: identify locations where projects are coming up, the kind of projects coming up etc.Β 

🏘 In 2021, more than a year into the pandemic, a reporter can analyse this data to see the patterns of office spaces and residential areas that have emerged in the past year or so, for example. 

πŸ“ Second, in case of a complaint, reporters can access more information about the project and cross-check the details of the claims being made by the developer.Β 

πŸ“Š Third, as reporters you can find essential stories by connecting the dots. You start with some information, and then build a dataset on top of it. For example, if there have been complaints against a particular developer, you could look at all other projects where the said developer was involved, and track all the complaints that emerge.

Possible story themes from RERA data sets

Story Examples

πŸ“Œ Uttar Pradesh RERA deregisters two Lucknow-based projects after they received a large number of complaints from the allottees of the projects, Renu Yadav, LiveMint

πŸ“Œ Bihar: RERA fines unscrupulous realtor, reveals how brokers evade rules, Amitabh Srivastava, India Today Insight

πŸ“Œ Govt Land Barter Deal Dodges The Law, Benefits The Rich, Mridula Chari, Article 14

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