In a historic and path breaking legislation, Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly passed the Arunachal Pradesh Land Settlement and Records Amendment Bill, 2018 thereby conferring ownership rights to the indigenous tribal people including communities and clan possessing Land Possession Certificates (LPCs) in the State.
The Bill was introduced by Land Management Minister Nabam Rebia on the first day of the ongoing Budget Session of the State Legislative Assembly. It was subsequently considered and passed by the House through voice vote on Monday.
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 the 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.
Sensing the issue, State Government under Chief Minister Pema Khandu, in interest of the indigenous people, constituted a high level committee consisting of four Cabinet Ministers and other senior officers of the government under the chairmanship of the Minister Land Management to study 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 various stake holders.
After getting inputs from all concerned the present Amendment Bill was prepared and introduced in the Legislative Assembly and was subsequently passed.
The amendment bill recognizes ownership right of the citizens, particularly indigenous people of the State which provides the right to give their land on long term lease up to 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.
The amendment bill also reduced the stamp duty on mortgage from three per cent to one per cent 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.
The State Government has therefore moved another Bill called the Arunachal Pradesh Money Lending (Regulation) Bill 2018 which is due to be passed by the House in the ongoing Assembly session.
These Amendments will go a long way in fulfilling the genuine aspirations of the people as well as in bringing desired capital to the state for holistic and inclusive development.