The Indian government has introduced new rules that will change how the Indian armed forces are allowed to use the land that is allocated to them. The new rules will now allow equal value infrastructure (EVI) development for the armed forces in exchange for land taken from the military. The land will be then used for public projects and other non-military purposes.
This will be the first change in India’s Defence Land Policy (DLP) since 1765, when the British established the first cantonment in Barrackpore, Bengal.
Along with a change in DLP, the government is also working on bringing changes to laws regulating the development of land in cantonment areas through the Cantonment Bill 2020.
Officials from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) anonymously said that land belonging to the armed forces that were essential for major public projects would only be exchanged for other lands of equal value or bought for market prices, reported MoneyControl. Major public projects include building of metros, roads, railways, and flyovers. The value of land would be determined by the local authority of the armed forces within cantonment zones, and by district magistrates for land belonging outside of cantonment areas.
Eight EVI projects have already been identified within the scheme of the new rules.
The funds from the land acquisition are planned to be used to generate revenue for the proposed non-lapsable modernisation fund. But the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) has said such revenue would be nowhere enough to fund the armed forces. Others like Lt Gen Satish Dua (retd) think that the revenue can be used for modernisation and not total expenditure.
Regardless of how the revenue from the land will be used, the new policy introduces a dramatic shift towards how land held by the MoD, the largest landowner in the country, is viewed and planned to be used.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)
First Published: IST