State cuts revenue land permissions

Move comes after BMC alleges delay in ease of doing business

January 08, 2017 12:58 am | Updated 12:58 am IST

Mumbai: Maharashtra has amended its land revenue code following a battle between the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Revenue Department over the State’s falling ease of doing business rankings. Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao on Thursday issued an ordinance to delete Sections 42 and 44 of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code (MLRC), 1966, which require a landowner to obtain permissions from the Collector to convert and carry out a non-agriculture (NA) assessment of his land.

The change means if the land has already been reserved for a certain purpose in the development plan (DP) of the corporation, permissions of the Collector will not be needed for the NA assessment. This, officials said, is in line with the government’s ease of doing business measures. An ordinance was necessitated under Article 348 of the Constitution since both the houses of the State legislature are currently not in session.

Earlier last year, the issue was flagged by municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta, who, at a meeting with chief secretary Swadheen Kshatriya, had blamed slow NA permissions by the Revenue Department for the State’s falling rankings on ease of doing business parameters. While the BMC had cut down on construction permissions, the NA assessment of land was holding the process for obtaining construction permits back, resulting in fall of rankings. In this context, Maharashtra’s ranking on the indices of the national Business Action Reform Plan (BARP) had slipped two positions to 10 in 2016 from eight in 2015.

Section 42, MLRC, deals with the conversion of land use and permission for non-agriculture use of land. But officials said once the DP is notified by the government under the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act, it becomes permissible for the land holders in such areas to use their land as per the provisions of the DP and the corresponding development control rules.

“Therefore, there is no need for revenue officials to separately examine and decide whether or not to grant permission for conversion of use of such land under Section 42 and 44 of the MLRC,” said an official.

Now, when the DP is finally published, the land should be deemed to have been converted to the use as permissible under the DP, provided conversion tax, NA assessment, nazarana (premium), and other dues are paid. The ordinance inserted two new Sections 42B and 42C in the MLRC, under which no separate NA permission will be required, ‘resulting in saving time and energy of the land holders and the administration, facilitating the ease of doing business’.

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