PM's course correction; relaxes govt land transfer ban
A belated realisation that own clumsy policy decision was holding up the infrastructure projects for the past 16 months led prime minister Manmohan Singh to relax the government land transfer ban.
The realisation came when he probed why the infrastructure projects were not speeding up despite his orders to put them in the fast mode.
The policy has been tweaked to ensure the infrastructure projects, mostly in the PPP (public, private participation) mode are not held up by the procedural delays in transfer of the government land for such projects, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) announced.
The ban slapped early last year stopped all transfers of the government land to any entity on lease, licence or rent unless approved by the cabinet. In an admission, the PMO said: "This was leading to long delays in awarding concessions for infrastructure projects, particularly PPP projects -- roads, railways, ports, civil aviation and metros. ...Requiring cabinet approval for each PPP project meant adding a few months to complete the processes for securing the approval."
While imposing the ban, the Department of Economic Affairs was asked to prepare a comprehensive land transfer policy for the government-owned land, but without waiting for it, the PM decided to relax the restriction on certain types of land transfer on lease, rent or licence to the concessionaires of the PPP projects that required the cabinet nod since last year.
The relaxation will also allow the land transfer from ministries to statutory authorities or Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and permit the Rail Land Development Authority to develop and use the railway land without seeking the cabinet's clearance.