Highlights

Defence Ministry finally approved the land transfer rules. Under the land transfer new rules the armed forces are allowed to receive infrastructure equivalent in value to the land under their control. The land is to be used for public utilities. This will help reduce the defence forces’ expenditure.

Indian Defence Forces under the new rule will effectively be able to monetise their land holdings for internal use. The land needed for public works such as railway and road network could either be exchanged for land equivalent value or for payment of market places.

State Govts, metros and National Highway Authority (NHA) can offer equal value of infrastructure for the land acquired from the defence sector.

What was the issue?

Indian Defence sector has one of the largest holdings of land in the country. According to the Public Accounts Committee 89th report on Defence Estate Management 2013, Defence Ministry owns 1700,000 acres of land. Public Accounts committee sates the following issues in Defence Sector Landholdings

  • Defence Ministry has faltered in applying proper norms and has failed to implement judicious management of lands.
  • There are variation in records between Defence Estate Officers and Local Military Authorities
  • Large portions of the farmers lands are waiting for more than 6 decades for mutation.
  • Defence lands are being used for unauthorised commercial purpose such as golf courses.

Rules changes need

  • Defence sector holding the largest part of the india land, there is a recurring problem in freeing up these lands for infrastructure purpose.
  • The land transfer was delayed due to state govts and public utilities and their protocols.
  • Also, the transfer of market value funds was stuck due to difference in availability of funds and costs.

The new land transfer rules are to be set by a committee headed by a local military authority.