Land pool­ing needs sim­ple trans­ac­tional pro­ce­dures

If a pro­vi­sion is made to ex­empt stamp duty at the time when DDA re­turns land to the own­ers, it will make the land pool­ing pol­icy more ac­cept­able

HT Estates - - HTESTATES - Su­nil Tyagi

In Septem­ber 2013, land pool­ing as an al­ter­na­tive to land ac­qui­si­tion for pro­mot­ing hous­ing devel­op­ment in the Na­tional Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory- Delhi was no­ti­fied by the min­istry of ur­ban devel­op­ment and in­cor­po­rated as Chap­ter 19 of the Mas­ter Plan for Delhi 2021. Draft reg­u­la­tions for op­er­a­tional­i­sa­tion of the land pool­ing pol­icy are cur­rently await­ing ap­proval from the min­istry of ur­ban devel­op­ment.

The ba­sic premise of the PPP model of land pool­ing would in­volve con­sol­i­da­tion of nu­mer­ous land parcels by a group of land own­ers or by a de­vel­oper en­tity as the case may be, in ac­cor­dance with norms to be pre­scribed. The own­ers/ de­vel­oper en­tity would then be re­quired to sur­ren­der their own­er­ship rights in the con­sol­i­dated land parcels in favour of the land pool­ing agency (i.e. Delhi Devel­op­ment Author­ity), which would later trans­fer own­er­ship rights of part of the land back to the land own­ers for un­der­tak­ing devel­op­ment of such ar­eas. Each land owner would get an eq­ui­table re­turn, ir­re­spec­tive of land uses as­signed to their land in the zonal devel­op­ment plan, with min­i­mum dis­place- ment. Land to be re­turned to the own­ers would fall within 5 km ra­dius of the pooled lands, sub­ject to plan­ning re­quire­ments. In case of frag­mented land hold­ings com­ing for­ward for land pool­ing in the same plan­ning zone, land would be re­turned in the vicin­ity of largest land hold­ing within the same zone. DDA’s role would es­sen­tially be that of a fa­cil­i­ta­tor to speed up in­te­grated planned devel­op­ment in the pro­posed ur­ban­is­able ar­eas of ur­ban ex­ten­sions for which zonal plans have been ap­proved.

The is­sue of stamp duty im­pli­ca­tions on the sur­ren­der of land to DDA and sub­se­quent trans­fer of land from DDA has been long pending clar­i­fi­ca­tion. L a n d o w n e r s h av e b e e n ap­pre­hen­sive of the stamp duty im­pli­ca­tions at var­i­ous stages of the land pool­ing process. As hefty amounts to­wards stamp duty and reg­is­tra­tion fee would have al­ready been borne by a land owner at the time of pur­chas­ing the land par­cel, it re­mains un­clear whether stamp duty would also be payable by a land owner at the stage of sur­ren­der­ing his/her own­er­ship rights in such land par­cel in favour of DDA.

In a wel­come move, the depart­ment of rev­enue, gov­ern­ment of Delhi has is­sued a no­ti­fi­ca­tion dated 13.01.2015, ex­empt­ing stamp duty payable un­der the In­dian Stamp Act, 1899, in re­spect of the first trans­fer of pooled agri­cul­tural land parcels to DDA. Hence, any sur­ren­der of con­sol­i­dated land parcels by land own­ers in favour of DDA, in ac­cor­dance with the land pool­ing pol­icy and pre­scribed norms, shall not be charge­able to stamp duty. This step would en­sure smooth and suc­cess­ful im­ple­men­ta­tion of the land pool­ing model. How­ever, the ben­e­fit of stamp duty ex­emp­tion in this no­ti­fi­ca­tion is cur­rently limited in scope as the no­ti­fi­ca­tion does not spec­ify the stamp duty im­pli­ca­tions and ex­emp­tions (if any) sub­se­quently payable at the time of trans­fer back/re­turn of land by DDA in favour of land own­ers/DE. Pro­vi­sion of a sim­i­lar stamp duty ex­emp­tion at the time of trans­fer back/re­turn of land by DDA in favour of land own­ers would no doubt be a fi­nan­cial in­cen­tive for landown­ers’ to come forth for par­tic­i­pat­ing in land pool­ing. Cur­rently, fur­ther clar­i­fi­ca­tion on this as­pect by the gov­ern­ment of Delhi is awaited.

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