ITANAGAR, March 13: In a historic and path-breaking development, the State Assembly has passed the Arunachal Pradesh Land Settlement and Records Amendment Bill, 2018 conferring land ownership to the indigenous tribal people.
The land owners will get Land Possession Certificates (LPCs). The Bill, introduced by land management minister Nabam Rebia on the first day of the ongoing Budget session of the Assembly, was passed later in the day through voice vote.
Even after 70 years of Independence the land in Arunachal Pradesh was held under customary laws and no document conferring the title of the land was ever given to people.
In absence of ownership document the land could not be mortgaged for loans by banks and other financial institutions. Further, it was not possible for farmers to give their land on long-term lease besides facing hurdles during payment of land compensations which made them land owning poor as they couldn’t unleash the true potential of the land they owned.
To plug all these loopholes in the system, the state government constituted a high level committee consisting of four Cabinet ministers and other senior officers of the government to study the issue and submit its recommendations.
A state-level conclave was also held in Itanagar where experts on land and land laws from within and outside the state were invited and discussions were held with several stakeholders.
After getting inputs from all concerned the present Amendment Bill was prepared and introduced in the Assembly.
The amendment Bill recognises ownership right of the citizens, particularly indigenous people of the state which provides the right to give their land on a long-term lease upto 33 years which is extendable to another 33 years making it to 66 years in total for big and small ventures.
With this legislation, huge investments from outside is expected in the state which will augment the economy of the state.
Besides, the land can now be mortgaged for obtaining loans from banks as the formal channels of credit has been opened, an official statement said adding that the amendment bill also reduced the stamp duty on mortgage from 3% to 1% giving huge relief to the indigenous people who avails loan from the banks.
This move will also help in containing rampant unregulated money lending system presently prevalent in the state which rendered people vulnerable at the hands of money lenders.
To check to illegal business, the state government moved a Bill called the Arunachal Pradesh Money Lending (Regulation) Bill 2018. The same is due to be passed by the House during its ongoing session.
Several issues where raised by members of the House on the Amendment Bill, which were clarified by the minister of land management.
Rebia also assured that genuine concerns of the members will be taken care of at the time of framing the rules/guidelines in this regard.