Government of Goa pushed through land ownership bill over opposition from Revenue and Finance Departments: RTI

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Government of Goa pushed through land ownership bill over opposition from Revenue and Finance Departments: RTI

Government response to an RTI request reveals that the Goa Revenue and Finance Departments had red flagged the controversial Bill pertaining to’sons-of-the-soil’, saying it was “not administratively approved” and could have “unexpected wider ramifications” before it was passed by the State Assembly last month.

After the Goa Bhumiputra Adhikarini Bill, 2021 passed the State Assembly, it offers a mechanism to give ownership rights to “bhumiputras” (sons of the land) who have been living in modest housing units for over 30 years.

Following criticism from a variety of places, including opposition parties, Chief Minister Pravind Prabhakar rewrote the Act in its current form.There were rumours that the Bhumi Adhikarini bill, as Pramod Sawant referred to it, might be redubbed and presented during the next legislative session.

It was also said that Goans will benefit from the bill, and that the opposition parties’ claims that it was geared at appeasing migrant voters were unfounded.

The Revenue Finance Department’s Jeniffer Monserratte and Sanjay Kumar put up a file indicating that the Bill has “not been administratively authorised,” according to papers obtained under the Right to Information Act by Goa Congress’ RTI cell in-charge Dominic Noronha last week.

According to Mr. Kumar’s response to the Opposition Congress, the bill has not been thoroughly reviewed and may have unanticipated ramifications.

Due to a lack of time, the Revenue Secretary had asked that “the Bill has not been properly studied and may have unanticipated wider ramifications.” This bill may be published for public discussion in light of its implications,” stated the Revenue Secretary in a statement.

There has to be a closer look at what the revenue department and the revenue minister are saying, says Mr. Kumar,
Mr. Kumar remarked and added that the case has been forwarded to the Revenue Minister for review and determination.

“The proposed law will jeopardise private owners, government agencies, communities, devasthans (temples), and eco-sensitive zones,” the Congress claimed to have received in the same RTI response.

According to a document obtained via RTI, the Finance Revenue Department had also informed the State government that the Bill’s provisions would allow for forced property transfers, which would contravene Article 300A of the Constitution.There is no administrative approval from the Revenue Minister for this particular law (Jeniffer Monserratte). Kumar’s answer to the Opposition Congress indicates that the law has not been fully studied and may have unforeseen consequences..

Finance Revenue Secretary had urged that “the Bill has not been fully reviewed and may have unforeseen wider consequences” due to a lack of time. In view of its consequences, this bill may be published for public comment,” said the Revenue Secretary in a statement.

Mr. Kumar believes that the revenue department and the revenue minister ought to be scrutinised more closely.

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