Govt relaxes land transfer policy for PPP projects

The PMO has allowed government land to be transferred without Cabinet approval to state-run agencies, to expedite infrastructure projects

In a significant step to avoid delay in the implementation of the infrastructure projects due to procedural reasons, the Union government has approved relaxations in the land transfer policy for government owned lands.

Early last year, a ban had been imposed on all transfer of government owned lands to any entity except in cases where land was to be transferred from one government department to another.

In the meanwhile, the Department of Economic Affairs was to prepare a comprehensive land transfer policy for government owned land.

In case 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.

This was leading to long delays in awarding concessions for infrastructure projects, particularly PPP projects.

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 government continues to own the land which is leased or licensed out. Requiring Cabinet approval for each PPP project meant adding a few months to complete the processes for securing Cabinet approval.

In view of all this, the Prime Minister has now relaxed the ban for certain categories of projects.

Land alienation has now been allowed for all cases of land transfer from Ministries to statutory authorities or PSUs, subject to the requirements of normal Government rules.

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It has also been allowed in 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 concerned or by the Cabinet, as the case may be, depending upon the value of the project.

This land transfer relaxation also includes all cases of development and use of railway land by Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) as per provisions of Railways Amendment Act, 2005 and the Rules framed thereunder and in accordance with the prevalent policies and guidelines of the Railway Ministry and the Government.

”This would speed up the award of PPP projects from this month onwards significantly,”

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