Cantonment Act: Ownership of Cantonment Properties to be Opened for Civilians

Ownership of Cantonment Properties to be Opened for Civilians

The Central government has given green signal to all the proposals submitted by an expert committee of the Cantonment Panel. It has planned to open all the ownership rights of properties in cantonment areas for private people. The committee that is responsible to transfer rights of properties built on cantonment land is headed by retired IAS officer and former Revenue Secretary Sumit Bose. He had submitted a detailed report to the government approving ownership transfers of properties in cantonment areas.

What is Cantonment Land?

Cantonment Act, 2006 is an act of Parliament that is governed by the Central Government through the Ministry of Defence. Cantonments are government-owned lands for the military-civilian population and are primarily meant for the use of the military personnel. The Constitution of India provides that the cantonments have a municipal body for local administration and the Ministry of Defence has an exclusive civil service known as the Indian Defence Estate Service (IDES).

Indian Defence Estate Service (IDES) officer is usually the CEO of the cantonment board while a military officer will be the president to govern the cantonments. The cantonments have its land categorised depending upon their usages and categories like A1, A2, B1, B2, B3, B4 and C. A1 land is for the exclusive use of companies or troops having the barracks, offices, garages and training areas, etc. They also have other facilities including schools, hospitals and markets for the troop families and the civil population living within the particular area.

Proposed Changes in the Cantonment Act

  • Transfer of ownership rights of the cantonment property for civilians across the country but on a case by case basis.
  • The properties of 62 military cantonments should be made open to private players.
  • Directorate General of Defence Estates (DGDE) manages defence land worth several lakh crore rupees.
  • Sources in the Indian Army were given major powers in the name of modernization and democratization of the governance structure of Cantonment Boards.
  • The committee is tasked to verify and suggest on matters such as bye-laws in cantonments, review of floor space index, municipal services provided to residents of cantonments, modalities for transfer and mutation of properties.

The implementation of Government new proposal to transfer ownership rights of properties in cantonment areas to private people is expected to boost the real estate sector. Since every individual has gained the opportunity to buy a home in cantonment land.

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By: Shailaja K