How land banks can encourage land use efficiency and create economic growth? Discuss in light of increasing prominence of land banks in India. Also, examine the concerns associated with it.

Land banks refer to ready-to-use land parcels with pre-clearances & regulatory approvals. DIPAM (Department of Investment and Public Asset Management) recently finalized proposals for a land bank company to streamline land bank use.

Benefits of Land Banks:

  1. Better land use efficiency:
    • Unused government land can be brought to use.
    • 50% of land in SEZs is lying vacant which can be used in a better way.
  2. Enable economic growth:
    • Ease of doing business through pre-cleared lands.
    • Enhances investments in India by avoiding disputes like Vedanta mining in Orissa.
    • Reduce delays in allotment.
  3. Other Benefits:
    • Transparency in land allotment and reduced corruption.
    • Consolidation of land – better use, e.g. allotment for SEZs.
    • Informed decision making. As records of land-bank are available, investors can make informed decision on investment site.

Concerns:

  • Conflict with other laws, e.g. Forest conservation Act requires added clearance.
  • Potential conflicts in future.
  • Records on paper, differing from ground realities.

There is a need for proper-implementation with involvement of all stakeholders to prevent future conflicts & utilize potential of India’s vacant land assets.

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