The move, part of a new push by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to downsize the public sector, would help the government monetize idle land to minimize losses for state-owned companies and help them raise funds.
Land is a state subject in India, with Parliament and state assemblies able to make laws on certain land rights. As a result, land disputes often end up becoming entangled in a bureaucratic web.
The panel’s objectives will include negotiating with state governments over freehold land disputes and deciding on compensation, among others, one of the government officials said.
Those responsible did not want to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to the media.
“Some state governments also use the lands owned by federally operated businesses. This panel may explore seeking alternative lands from state governments for these businesses,” the first official said.
The panel will be chaired by a senior central government official, he added. In March 2022, the government established the National Land Monetization Corp (NLMC) to monetize surplus land and real estate assets of state-owned companies and other government agencies.
Once disputes are resolved, the NLMC would step in to facilitate sales, the first official said.
State-owned companies had identified around 14 million square meters of land to monetize by March 2022, according to data shared by the government in response to a question from parliament. However, NLMC has not yet sold any land assets.
The Department of Finance, which oversees the NLMC, did not respond to an email from Reuters seeking comment.
In November, the government asked public sector companies to consider moving the country’s insolvency court to close loss-making units, while splitting units’ land assets to ensure land disputes do not hamper not the process.