The government, on January 22, 2020, decided to set up three high-level committees, one of which will be headed by home minister Amit Shah, to dispose of over 9,400 enemy properties, which is likely to fetch about Rs 1 lakh crore to the exchequer. In an order, the Home Ministry said the decision has been taken for disposal of immovable enemy properties vested in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India under the Enemy Property Act.
An inter-ministerial group will be constituted, which will be co-chaired by the union home secretary and the secretary of the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management. Representatives of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Department of Economic Affairs, Department of Expenditure, Department of Public Enterprises, Department of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, among others, will be members of the inter-ministerial group, according to the order.
A Core Group of Secretaries on Asset Monetisation (CGAM) will be constituted, under the chairmanship of cabinet secretary and comprising secretary, Department of Economic Affairs; secretary, Department of Revenue; secretary, Department of Expenditure; secretary, Department of Public Enterprises; secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs; secretary, Department of Legal Affairs; secretary, Urban Development; union home secretary and secretary, Department of Investment and Public Asset Management. The order said that the central government may constitute an alternative mechanism consisting of the following: home minister (Amit Shah), finance minister (Nirmala Sitharaman) and minister of road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari.
Centre allows state governments to put enemy properties to ‘public use’
The centre has allowed state governments to put to ‘public use’ some enemy properties that were left behind by people who migrated to Pakistan since the partition and to China after the 1962 Sino-Indian war
March 12, 2019: The guidelines for the disposal of properties under the Enemy Property Order, 2018, has been amended, to facilitate ‘usages of enemy property by the state government exclusively for public use’, a notification issued by the Home Ministry said, on March 11, 2019. The move comes amid the central government’s efforts to sell more than 9,400 enemy properties, worth over Rs 1 lakh crore and Rs 3,000 crores worth of enemy shares. Enemy properties are those properties that were left behind by the people who took citizenship of Pakistan and China.
There are 9,280 such properties left behind by Pakistani nationals and 126 by Chinese nationals, an official of the ministry said. Of the total properties left behind by those who took Pakistani citizenship, 4,991 are located in Uttar Pradesh, the highest in the country. West Bengal has 2,735 such estates and Delhi 487. The highest number of properties left by Chinese nationals is in Meghalaya (57), while West Bengal has 29 such properties and Assam seven.
“The estimated value of all enemy properties is approximately Rs 1 lakh crore,” union minister of state for home, Hansraj Gangaram Ahir had told the Rajya Sabha in 2018. The central government, in February 2019, had constituted a high-level committee to recommend the quantum and price or price band, for sale of enemy shares, worth Rs 3,000 crores. A total 6,50,75,877 shares in 996 companies of 20,323 shareholders are under the custody of the Custodian of Enemy Property for India, another official said.
Of these companies, 588 are functional or active companies, 139 of these are listed and the remaining are unlisted.
The Enemy Property Act was enacted in 1968 and it regulates such properties and lists the custodian’s powers.
The Act was amended in 2017 to ensure that the successors of those who migrated to Pakistan and China, will have no claim over the properties left behind in India.
Government plans to dispose of ‘enemy’ properties soon
The Home Ministry has given its approval to dispose of ‘enemy’ properties, which belong to persons who have left India and settled in Pakistan or China
December 19, 2017: Properties belonging to people, who had left for countries like Pakistan after the partition and free from legal tangle, will soon be disposed, of with home minister Rajnath Singh giving his nod, the home ministry said. The issue was discussed threadbare at a high-level meeting, chaired by the home minister on December 18, 2017.
The home minister directed that considering the importance of the new provisions in the Enemy Property Act, 2017, which was amended recently to include disposal/transfer of enemy properties, the rules may be notified expeditiously. “It was also decided that the custodian office be strengthened for this purpose and the ministry should identify the properties free from encumbrance, for quick disposal and monetisation,” a home ministry statement said.
According to the amended Act, ‘enemy property’ refers to any property belonging to, held or managed on behalf of an enemy, an enemy subject, or an enemy firm. The owners of the enemy properties are those who have left India and settled in Pakistan or China. The government has vested these properties in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India, an office instituted under the central government.
After the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965, the Enemy Property Act was enacted in 1968, which regulates such properties and lists the custodian’s powers. The home ministry said similar properties in Pakistan, belonging to Indians, have been disposed of and the appointment of nodal officers by the state governments be pursued, to coordinate identification, vesting and valuation of enemy properties.
During the meeting, it was also informed that the survey of 6,289 properties had been completed and the survey be completed with respect to the remaining 2,991 properties, which are vested with the custodian, the statement said. Also, the properties in the process for vesting, numbering 5,863, may also be surveyed at the earliest.