June 26, agencies

With the aim of tackling illegal transactions and evasion of taxes, the government today said it proposes to amend two laws related to land purchase and transfer.

The proposal to bring amendments to the Benami Transactions (Prohibitions of the Right to Recover Property) Act, 1989 and SEZ Act, 2005 was made at a preparatory meeting of National Council for Land Reforms (NLRC).

Chairing the meeting, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh told the non-official members of NLRC that suggestions on the steps taken by the government to bring reforms and related land management issues should be provided in a week’s time.

He said that the government proposes to bring amendments to the Benami Transactions (Prohibitions of the Right to Recover Property) Act to monitor evasion of ceiling laws through fraudulent land transaction.

Ramesh, who also holds the Department of Land Resources portfolio, said the Centre also proposes to amend the SEZ Act to put a ban on exemptions on diversion of land in Scheduled Areas and also on transfers of common property and and agricultural land for SEZ purposes.

The Rural Development Ministry had decided to hold the meeting of the non-official members of NLRC after they attacked the government of failing to convene a single meeting of the Council over the last four-and-a-half years. NLRC was constituted in February 2008 and is led by the Prime Minister.

The Minister also informed the non-official members of the Council that the Centre is planning to conduct surveys for a better understanding of the status of ‘bhoodan’ land, common property resources in villages and settlement operations in tribal sub-plan areas.

The Prime Minister asked me to meet the non-official members. I met them. Now the PM will fix a time,” the Minister said when asked about the timing of the full Council’s meeting.

P V Rajagopal of Ekta Parishad, who is a member of NLRC, said suggestions on the government’s proposals would be submitted on Saturday.