The resurvey of defence land being initiated in the wake of large-scale encroachments across the country, is set to be completed by the end of the present financial year, according to Union minister of state for defence M M Pallam Raju.
“We are making an all out effort to conserve and protect our defence lands. We have already computerised all the land records in the 35 defence estates office (DEO) circles. We have also ordered for a re-survey on the defence land holdings being taken up across eight circles. It (resurvey) should be over by the end of this financial year,” he said.
The total defence land holding in the country is around 1.75 million acres, of which 160,000 acre is in 62 cantonments.
It may be recalled that Union defence minister A K Antony, in a written reply to questions in the Rajya Sabha early this month, said over 12,000 acres defence land all over the country had been encroached, and close to half of the land occupied by squatters were in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. Speaking to reporters after the handing-over ceremony of city-based Avantel Limited’s mobile satellite system (MSS) to Boeing here on Monday, Raju said, the issue of raising the cap in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Indian domestic sector was being debated by the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM).
“I think, there is a demand by the industry and also by foreign suppliers towards increasing it (FDI). This is being examined by the EGoM,” he said, while refusing to comment further.
Replying to a query, he said the private sector in India was hesitant to venture into the defence sector because of the bigger deals, longer project timelines, complex technologies, stringent quality norms, and lower and inconsistent volumes. The private sector, especially the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), are playing a bigger role in fulfilling the offset obligations for large global firms and this year, the defence sector can confidently report a figure of about Rs 18,000 crore as part of the offset commitments, he said.