SRINAGAR: The new land laws introduced in Jammu and Kashmir replaced 11 Land Laws that existed in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, which reflected old regressive, intrinsically contradictory and outdated laws, with a set of modern, progressive and people-friendly provisions.
The new land laws will not only afford protection to over 90% of the land in J&K from being alienated to outsiders but will also help revamp the agriculture sector, foster rapid industrialization, aid economic growth and create jobs in J&K.
The J&K Government, which is constantly working towards creating a modern, efficient, transparent and citizen-friendly UT, has ensured protections and safeguards for the land after the introduction of new land laws.
The new land laws are being hailed by the people of Jammu and Kashmir as a major step towards the development and progress of J&K. The historic initiative of the government will revamp agriculture and allied sectors besides ensuring holistic development of all sectors.
The Ministry of Home Affairs, through an order on October 26, introduced amendments to 14 laws of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and repealed 12 others. Key amendments were made to four major state laws that governed the ownership, sale, and purchase of land in the erstwhile state. These are The J&K Development Act, 1970, The J&K Land Revenue Act, 1996, The Agrarian Reforms Act, 1976 and The J&K Land Grants Act, 1960.
The designation of land for industrial purposes will open up greater employment avenues for the youth who have always yearned for industrial revolution in J&K so that they can get better employment opportunities.
According to the new land law, agricultural land can only be sold to an agriculturist and he has been defined as a person who cultivates land personally in the UT. The term ‘agriculture land’ unambiguously is defined to include not just agriculture but horticulture and allied agro-activities as well. The most extensive definition includes not just horticulture but poultry, Animal Husbandry, fallow land etc also.
While progressive provisions of the repealed laws have been retained by including them in the modified Land Revenue Act, new provisions have been added to modernize existing laws. There are provisions for setting up of a Board of Revenue, Regional planning for regulating the use of land, alienation and conversion, land lease, consolidation and Contract Farming. The Board of Revenue comprising senior officers will not only be the Developing Authority for preparing regional plans but can notify a scheme of consolidation of landholdings and also a scheme for restricting and regulating the fragmentation of agricultural landholdings to make agriculture viable.
Last year in October, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said that “not an inch of agricultural land” in Jammu and Kashmir has been given to anyone from outside the UT while addressing the gathering after launching the Apple festival 2021 at SKICC.
He assured the farmers that “no agricultural land has been given to anyone from outside and to protect the land of Jammu and Kashmir is the responsibility of the government of Jammu and Kashmir”.
One must speak with responsibility and it is a fact that not even an inch of land belonging to any farmer has been given to anyone from outside Jammu and Kashmir and even law states that agricultural land has to be protected. With due respect to this law, it is the responsibility of the Jammu and Kashmir government to safeguard the agricultural lands”, LG maintained.
As a major initiative toward good governance and ease of convenience to the citizens, the Revenue Department started issuance of trilingual Land Passbooks in Hindi, Urdu and English to the landholders with effect from the 19th of February 2022 from the districts of Jammu and Srinagar.
The land passbooks being issued to every landholder contain sentry from the Jamabandi in revenue estate so as to enable him to make its use for credit facilities and for other matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The land passbook prescribed by the Revenue Department is true to the record and can be generated online by landholders without visiting a Patwari or Tehsildar or any Revenue office.
With scanning and digitization of land records, already under implementation for convenience of citizens as part of the good governance initiative of the Government, the department in tune with the statute laid has also framed the Jammu and Kashmir Land Passbook Rules-2022 for online issuance of Land Passbook.