3 hours ago
- Defense Ministry has 17.95 lakh acres of land
- Out of this, 16.35 lakh acres are outside the cantonments.
After the first time in 250 years, the central government is going to make major changes in the Defense Land Policy. According to media reports, the Narendra Modi government has approved new rules related to this policy. Under this, in lieu of the land taken from the army for public projects, infrastructure (EVI) development of equal value will be allowed. That is, the land belonging to the defense can be taken in lieu of giving land of equal value or on payment of market price.
Changes are being made in the Defense Land Policy for the first time since 1765. At that time, the first cantonment (cantonment) was formed in Barrackpore, Bengal during the British period. Then there was a ban on the use of land belonging to the army for any purpose other than for military purposes. Later in 1801, the Governor-General-in-Council of the East India Company ordered that no bungalows and quarters of any cantonment would be allowed to be sold to any person not attached to the army.
But now the government is busy in finalizing the Cantonment Bill-2020 considering the Defense Land Reforms. So that development can also take place in Cantonment Zones. According to media reports, Defense Ministry officials say that army land is needed for big public projects like metro building, roads, railways and flyovers.
Military authority will decide the land rates in the cantonment zone
Eight EVI projects have been identified under the new rules. These also include building units and roads. Under this, the value of the defense land in the Cantonment Zone will be decided by a committee headed by the local military authority there. At the same time, the rate of land outside the cantonment will be decided by the district magistrate.
According to a media report, the Finance Ministry has also suggested monetizing defense land to raise revenue for a non-lapsable modernization fund. According to officials, discussions are also going on on the draft cabinet note to create the Defense Modernization Fund. A final decision in this regard will be taken soon and will be sent for cabinet approval.
DMA objected to the formula of the Ministry of Finance
On the other hand, the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) has told the government last year that the money from the monetization of army land will hardly be enough to meet the needs of the armed forces. The DMA had also raised the issue of reducing the budget of the security forces. At the same time, it had also objected to the suggestion of the Finance Ministry that 50% of the funds received from the sale of army land would go to the Consolidated Fund of India.
Defense Ministry has 17.95 lakh acres of land
According to the Directorate General Defense Estates, the Defense Ministry has about 17.95 lakh acres of land. Out of this, 16.35 lakh acres is outside 62 cantonments. This does not include Public Sector Units (PSUs) under the Ministry of Defense such as Hindustan Aeronautics, Bharat Electronics, Bharat Dynamic, Bharat Earth Movers, Garden Reach Workshops, Mazagon Docks. Also, the Border Road Organization, which builds 50,000 km of roads, is also not included.
The army has a lot of land outside the cantonments in the country. These include camping grounds, vacant cantonments, ranges and airfields. Their total estimated area is such that as many as 5 areas of Delhi can come.
In 1991, the then Defense Minister Sharad Pawar first mooted the idea of abolishing the cantonments. in order to make use of the additional land. However, after a dispute over this, he had clarified that the cantonments would not be abolished.