Centre plans to auction surplus PSU land to industry

May 18, 2016 02:18 am | Updated 02:18 am IST - New Delhi:

The Union government is examining the possibility of making a bank of all its surplus land holdings across the country from which parcels could be auctioned to private industry.

The move is to ensure that non-availability of land doesn’t dampen new investments and economic growth.

Other than for private industry such land identified in Delhi, Mumbai and other metros could be used for urban renewal projects.

A committee, under Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das, is inventorying all the holdings, including that of government companies,in coordination with the Urban Development Ministry.

The decision comes in the wake of the Centre’s legislation on land acquisition failing to clear Parliament even a year after an ordinance for it was allowed to lapse.

The committee will first identify the surplus holdings that need not be retained for strategic or other purposes and then work out the modalities for their disposal, Mr. Das told The Hindu . Defence land is unlikely to be put on the block.

“Land will be sold only after it is established that the government companies need not hold on to it,” he said. The end-use of the parcels to be auctioned will be specified beforehand. “If it is decided that an industrial park has to be set up then land will be auctioned for solely that purpose,” he explained.

This is the first time the Centre is inventorying all its land holdings.

The details are being collated on a portal. The government is not sure how much land these government companies own as there are no centralised records.

“It is likely to be thousands of acres…and can be used for urban redevelopment,” according to a source at the NITI Aayog.

In his budget speech earlier this year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced: “We will encourage CPSEs [Central Public Sector Enterprises] to divest individual assets like land, manufacturing units, etc. to realise their asset value for making investment in new projects.”

The committee is likely to submit its report to the Prime Minister’s Office next month, said Mr. Das.

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