The government has issued the 'National Land Commission Formation Order, 2021' to specify the functions, duties, and powers of the commission for the purpose of providing land to landless Dalits and squatters and manage the unmanaged inhabitants.

As per the order recently published in the Nepal Gazette, there shall be a nine-member national land commission chaired by a person appointed by the government. The commission shall comprise a vice-chairperson, six experts in the area of land measurement and survey as members and a gazetted first class officer as its member-secretary. The provision for formation of the commission requires appointment of at least two expert members from among the Dalit community and women.

"The chairperson, vice-chairperson and members of the commission shall remain in office until its dissolution.

However, the government may dismiss expert members at anytime if they fail to perform up to the mark, do not comply with official duty honestly and are deemed mentally and physically unfit for the position," the order reads.

The functions, duties and powers of the commission are to develop criteria and standard for identification and verification of landless Dalits, squatters and unmanaged inhabitants; prepare necessary procedures and design for collection of inventory of the beneficiaries; perform tasks related to identification, inventory collection and verification of beneficiaries through local levels, prepare map records of land by conducting measurement and survey through the relevant land revenue office, and initiate the process of providing land to the beneficiaries on the basis of evidence.

The commission is also required to strictly follow the existing Land Act and other provisions while making decision to provide land to landless Dalits, squatters and unmanaged inhabitants.

It is empowered to seize any person's land beyond the prescribed ceiling and provide it to the beneficiaries as prescribed.

Similarly, the order has stipulated a provision related to the proceedings of meeting of the commission. The presence of at least 50 per cent of members shall constitute a quorum to hold the meeting of the commission.

Any decision shall be made on the basis of majority. The commission may form an eight-member district committee chaired by a person appointed by the government. Its members include the concerned chief district officer, two experts, and chiefs of district land revenue office, division forest office and district survey office.

The order requires the district committee to perform the functions and duties as per the powers delegated by the commission.

Likewise, the committee shall work in coordination with the local levels, provide orientation to office-bearers of the local government, hold interaction with stakeholders and send monthly progress report to the commission.

Any person who has completed at least bachelor's level and gained no less than 10 years of experience in the field of land management, law or land survey and management may be qualified for the post of `chairperson, vice-chairperson and member of the commission, and district committee chairperson.

The chairperson of the commission shall be entitled to remuneration, allowance and other facilities equivalent to the minister of state. Similarly, the vice-chairperson and members of the commission will enjoy remuneration, allowance and other facilities akin to assistant minister and gazetted special class officer respectively.

In the case of district committee chairperson, they will remain equivalent to gazetted first class officer. The chairperson, vice-chairperson and members of the commission, office-bearers of the district committee and other employees will not be eligible to get the land to be provided by the commission.

A version of this article appears in the print on October 4, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.