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PM lifts ban on transfer of govt-owned land

Projects

In an effort to clear bottlenecks for infrastructure projects, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has lifted ban on transfer of government-owned land, which are often required for various PPP projects. This will ensure that infrastructure projects do not held up because of procedural delays.

Earlier last year, a ban was imposed on all transfer of government-owned lands to any entity except between two government departments until the Department of Economic Affairs prepare a comprehensive land transfer policy. During this period, if any department had to implement a project which required alienation of land either through lease, license or rent, it had to seek specific approval of the Cabinet.

All PPP infrastructure projects– roads, railways, ports, civil aviation and metros–have some element of land alienation as the project is often built on government owned land. The ban was leading to long delays in awarding concessions for infrastructure projects, particularly PPP projects. Requiring Cabinet approval for each PPP project meant adding a few months to complete the processes for securing Cabinet approval.

The Prime Minister has now relaxed the ban for certain categories of projects by allowing land alienation for all cases of land transfer from ministries to statutory authorities or PSUs.

The Prime Minister has also relaxed norms for all cases of land transfer on lease or rent or license to a concessionaire which have been appraised through the PPPAC (public private partnership approval committee) route and approved by the finance minister or by the ministers.

The relaxation also covers development and use of railway land by Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) as per provisions of Railways.

The government expects this would significantly speed up the award of PPP projects from this month onwards.

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