Indian citizens can now buy land in Jammu and Kashmir.
- Centre notified new land laws for Jammu and Kashmir, ending the abrogated Article 370.
- Now, common people and investors outside J&K can purchase land in the region.
- This ended the exclusive rights of locals over the land granted under Article 370.
- The new J&K Development Act omitted the term ‘being a permanent resident of the State’ as a criterion to purchase land.
- Soon the Centre is going to notify land laws separately for the Union Territory of Ladakh.
- According to the amendments of ‘The Jammu and Kashmir Land Revenue Act, Samvat, 1996’ only agriculturists of the region can buy agriculture land and no exchange, sale, gift and mortgage shall be valid by a non-agriculturist.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) introduced the UT of J&K Reorganization, Adaption of Central Laws, Third Order, 2020 resulted in the repeal of 26 state laws.
- This included the J&K Big Landed Estates Abolition Act which resulted in the ‘Land of tiller rights’.
Features of the New Law
- The new law ended the right of permanent residents over land.
- Common citizens as well as investors outside J&K can now purchase the land.
- Restrictions on conversion of agricultural landsto non-agricultural purposes. But a district collector can clear the conversion.
- For healthcare or higher or senior secondary or for specialized education land can be transferred in favour of a person or an institution.
- For declaring an area as “Strategic Area” for operational and training requirements of the armed force, an army officer should be not below the rank of Crops Commander.
Need for the New Laws?
- The changes to the land laws are the logical steps following the nullification of Article 370 and Article 35-A which had ended the special status for Jammu & Kashmir.
- The government argues that the new laws will spur economic activity in J&K. It pointed that because of the restrictions on land purchase that were in place in the erstwhile state, Jammu & Kashmir had little landholdings to attract investors.
- But, there are concerns among the local populace and local political parties are vehemently opposing the laws.
- Some argue that the changes could have been made after consultation with local population.
- For so long, the J&K politics had been dominated by deliberate demographic engineering. Fears are ripe that this will change now.
- The government should also understand that pushing development in J&K without political participation and people’s deliberations will result in fraught development.