New Delhi: In a big move that could affect over 40 lakh people in Delhi, Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to grant ownership rights, including mortgage or transfer rights, to citizens living in unauthorised colonies in the national capital.

The Bill for the same will be announced in the next Parliament session, said Union Minister Prakash Javadekar.

Addressing a press briefing of the Union Cabinet, Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar said, “The Cabinet has taken a historic decision to give ownership rights to 40 lakhs people living in unauthorised colonies in Delhi.”

Interestingly, the move comes ahead of the Assembly polls in the national capital that is scheduled for early next year. Javadekar said that the proposal was based on the recommendations of a committee.

Adding to his point, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said, “The ownership rights will be conferred to people who are living there, whether they are on private or government land.”

Earlier in June, the Delhi government had proposed a set of parameters to the Centre to regularise 1,797 unauthorised colonies in the capital city. The state government had proposed to charge one per cent cost of land circle rate for up to 200 square metre plot from occupants along with a nominal penalty.

The Union Cabinet also approved a merger of the state-run telecom operators Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), to lift the two firms from their debt-ridden condition.

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “Neither MTNL or BSNL are being closed, nor being disinvested, nor is being hired to any third party.”

For the joint venture, the government will invest Rs 15,000 crore through sovereign bonds, along with Rs 38,000 crore assets to be monetised for the same.

It was further announced that Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) of Telecom operators will be allocated with the spectrum of 4G, while VRS (voluntary retirement scheme) packages will also be offered to retired employees at the cost of Rs 29,937 crore.