The Congress government in Karnataka has brought a new legislation that eases land acquistion rules for people not engaged in agriculture.
The Karnataka Land Reforms (Amendment) Bill, 2015, which was passed by the state legislature on Friday, raises the annual income limit for acquiring land by persons not engaged in agriculture from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 25 lakh.
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The amendment to the 1961 Karnataka Land Reforms Act is believed to be key to regularisation of land ownership in the state and to open up the market for sale of all types of land. The new law is expected to reduce a lot of benami land ownership that currently exists due to income limit restrictions on purchase of land by people from non-agricultural backgrounds.
The amendment also empowers deputy commissioners in districts to double the area of land that can be acquired by non-agriculturists for industrial, educational, religious, housing and horticulture purposes from the existing 20, 4, 1, 10 and 20 units, respectively.
Revenue minister V Srinivas Prasad who piloted the bill stated that the income limit for non agriculturists was being enhanced keeping in mind the fact that there has been a nearly 300 per cent inflation since 1995 when the limit was raised from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh.
The Congress government had first tabled the bill in March 30 this year, but had withdrawn it as the bill seemed to contradict the party’s public opposition to the land bill brought by the NDA government at the Centre.
When the bill came up in the legislature Friday, BJP members like former speaker K G Bopaiah opposed it, saying it is contrary to the purpose of the 1961 Act. BJP and JDS members also said the new law would only help real estate businessmen.