Editorial Simplified : 28th day of May 2016
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Editorial : Landing a quick-fix
Identify surplus land held by government
What is the news?
Centre’s is planning to identify surplus land held by government departments & PSU’s with a view to auctioning such land to the private sector, or deploying it for urban renewal projects
What is the significance?
This is in sync with the Budget promise to encourage public sector firms to divest individual assets and re-invest the proceeds in new projects.
Details about the committee:
- A committee has been tasked with creating an inventory of public landholdings and identifying plots that are not needed for future expansion or strategic purposes, and thus could be alienated for other uses.
- Committee had mooted creating a depository of all government/public sector land with satellite mapping done to indicate actual usage.
- Also, that land transactions should be on an outright sale basis with the optimal land use being approved before the sale, via e-auction.
Issues to be addressed
- As past strategic disinvestment cases have shown, valuation of land is a prickly issue that leaves governments susceptible to extreme scrutiny from political peers as well as the auditor.
- In addition, it can take years to conclude.
Work in progress
A model tenancy law that the NITI Aayog has mooted as an alternative reform step to allow the leasing of agricultural land, also remains a work in progress.
This exercise is a minor recompense for the larger reform agenda that the government has set aside: amending the land acquisition law.
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