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NITI Aayog to set up expert group to draft land leasing law


New Delhi: NITI Aayog will soon set up an experts group to prepare a model ‘land leasing law’ which can be adopted by states as per their local needs.

The decision to set up a committee of experts for the purpose was taken at a meeting of Chief Secretaries and Principal Secretaries of Revenue/land which was chaired by NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya, a press release said.

According to the release, it was agreed at the meeting that the NITI Aayog Vice-Chairperson will appoint a committee of experts to prepare a model land leasing law that the states can adopt to suit their local needs.

The NITI Aayog in consultation with the Department of Land Resources will also assist the interested states in moving forward with updating and digitising land records in accordance with the best practices.

The Chief Secretaries of Haryana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand participated in the meeting. Other States were represented by Additional Chief Secretary or Principal Secretary or Commissioner(Revenue/land).

The statement said the representatives of the states generally agreed that land leasing, updating of land records and land titling would be win-win steps for all affected parties and expressed keen interest in making progress on them in the months to come.

Land related issues such as land leasing, updating and digitisation of land records and land titling are important state issues in need of a fresh look and possible actions by the states.

In most cases, the states enacted land-leasing laws post-independence. However, due to one or other reasons these laws heavily discouraged leasing and sub-leasing of land. In the longer run, the laws ended up affecting both landowners and tenants adversely.

The Aayog said, “Today, the tenant lacks the security of tenure, which discourages him from making long-term investments in land. He is also deprived of access to institutional credit and likely benefits of crop insurance, relief in event of natural calamity and potential direct benefit transfer of subsidies. The landowner feels a sense of insecurity when leasing land so that she often chooses to leave her land fallow rather than lease it.”

A transparent land leasing law would allow the potential tenant or sharecropper to engage in enforceable contracts with the landowner, which would benefit both.

The best practices of Telangana, Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab and Kerala on land titling, digitisation of land records and land leasing were also discussed in the meeting.

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