Lack of clarity in Stamp duty & Urban area stalls land pooling in Delhi

Six months after the central government notified the operational guidelines for implementation of the land pooling policy, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) is yet to implement it. While the Delhi government is apprehensive about declaring 95 villages as a development area, sources in DDA say there is not much clarity on several issues.

Transfer of property is one such issue. Under the scheme, multiple transactions of a property will be required under the Transfer of Property Act, 1882. But it is unclear whether stamp duty has to be paid at each stage or not. For instance, if farmers rope in a developer to avail the benefit of the land pooling policy, they will have to transfer their land to the developer who in turn will transfer it to DDA. DDA will return close to 50% of the land back to the developer after preparing the development plan. “It is unclear whether transfer duty has to be paid at every stage or not,” said a DDA official.

The Delhi government, which recently transferred gram sabha land in 95 villages to its revenue department to protect it from being transferred to DDA, is yet to take a final decision on declaring these villages as urbanized and development areas.

Urban planning experts say the government should start a few pilot projects so that it can develop standard operating procedures and land valuation principles, work out the design framework and figure out the issues that might crop up in implementation of the policy. “Once these things are in place, the land pooling policy can take off in a big way,” said a senior government official.

The policy favours those who provide DDA with larger land parcels. On contributing 2-20 hectares, the owners will be compensated with plots measuring 48% of the original. For more than 20 hectares, the compensatory plots will measure 60% of the original. The owners will be able to build residential, commercial, public and semi-public facilities on these alternative plots.

Officials also point out the need to put trunk infrastructure in place as it will be difficult to undertake this task after the policy is implemented. “The zonal plans are ready. They can start developing master plan roads,” said an official.

“There has been no movement on this issue,” said a senior Delhi government official. “We need to carefully study the policy to ensure that farmers’ interest is taken care of. For each property transaction, stamp duty has to be paid. So far, we don’t have any communication from either DDA or UD ministry regarding stamp duty,” said an official. Sources say CM Arvind Kejriwal is thinking of consulting urban development experts before giving a go-ahead to declare the villages as development areas.

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