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Rajasthan govt does it again, ushers in crucial land reforms

The state has been wooing investors with sops, business-friendly policies for the last two years

Sahil Makkar  |  New Delhi 

Five days ago in a meeting with the Rajasthan government, traders and industrialists had asked for the land to expand the footwear industry beyond Jaipur and its surrounding areas. The state government readily offered land in Dholpur and Bharatpur districts, but the traders were unimpressed. They did not want to go beyond Jaipur and its surrounding areas because of scarcity of water, underdeveloped land and legal issues.

Such issues are common in the state and had restricted the industry from expansion for years. It appears that the new dispensation under chief minister Vasundhara Raje has decided to change the perception first with a series of industry and labour reforms and now with land reforms, impressing both industry and her critics.



Raje's government has managed to pass the Rajasthan Investment Region Bill, 2016, the Rajasthan Land Pooling Scheme Bill, 2016, and the Rajasthan Urban Land (Certification of Titles) Bill, 2016, in the Assembly in the last four days.

"The Rajasthan Urban Land (Certification of Titles) Bill is a futuristic Bill. It will help in ease of business as buyers will not have to go into the entire chain of documents. The state will provide an ownership guarantee certificate and will stand by it," said Ashok Jain, additional secretary, urban development and housing, in the Rajasthan government.

"It will also reduce litigation and add revenue to the state government," he said. Through the first such Bill in the country, owners in urban areas can seek a certificate of ownership of their land by paying a nominal fee to the government.

The state government will set up an authority, akin to the transport authority that issues driving licences. The authority will be headed by an Indian Administrative Officer and will seek all the documents from the landowners to verify them against records held by the state. The authority will first issue a provisional certificate, for which the state will not stand guarantee. If there are no objections, the authority will issue a certificate and a map to the owner with a guarantee.

Currently it is voluntary for owners to apply for this certificate. The state government has set the application fee at 0.5 per cent of the land rate determined by a district level committee to encourage more people to join this scheme.

Through the Bill the state government has given itself the power to enter into any property or premise for the purpose of survey by giving its owner prior notice. Alongside the Rajasthan Urban Land (Certification of Titles) Bill, the state government also passed the much pending Rajasthan Land Pooling Scheme Bill. Pradeep Kapoor, senior town planner in the Rajasthan government, said the Land Pooling Bill was a win-win situation for everyone. "Land acquisition is a tedious process and often faces legal hurdles. Through the Land Pooling Bill the process will be faster as neither the development authority will pay any compensation nor will it make an initial investment."


"People will get up to 55 per cent developed land from the authority. The value of their returned land will be much more than the original cost of their entire land," he said.

Kapoor said the state government would either forcefully acquire the land of those who refused to be part of the land pooling policy by paying the compensation according to the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act 2013, or would not include the land in the master plan. But industry captains were more impressed with the passing of the Rajasthan Investment Region Bill. This Bill allows the state government to acquire land in the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor, which has 40 per cent area in 22 districts of Rajasthan.

"It is a good move. Land and water are the biggest problems in the state. The present government seems serious and I am sure it will implement this Bill at the earliest," said SK Poddar, chairman of CII's Rajasthan chapter.

The Bill provides the government the right to notify any area under the Special Investment Region. It can acquire land through the provisions of the Central Land Acquisition Act, 2013. Last year, the state government had signed memorandums of understanding worth Rs 3.5 lakh crore and has been undertaking a series of industrial and labour reforms.

Political analysts and senior officials said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did not want a repeat of her first Rajasthan Resurgent Summit, where less than 40 per cent of the MoUs were converted into investments. "She has rolled out a red carpet for industry to impress her political masters in New Delhi and voters in the state," said a senior state official.



ON ROAD TO REFORMS
  • Raje's government has passed the Rajasthan Investment Region Bill, 2016, the Rajasthan Land Pooling Scheme Bill, 2016, and the Rajasthan Urban Land (Certification of Titles) Bill, 2016, in the Assembly
  • The Rajasthan Urban Land Bill will help in ease of business as buyers will not have to go into the entire chain of documents
  • With Land Pooling Bill, the acquisition of land process will be faster as neither the development authority will pay any compensation nor will it make an initial investment
  • Under Rajasthan Investment Region Bill, state government will acquire land in the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor, which has 40 per cent area in 22 districts of Rajasthan

First Published: Sat, April 09 2016. 22:30 IST
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