The revised Land Law will come into force on July 1. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, Vice Chairwoman of the National Assembly, has talked the changes made to the existing law on Vietnam News Agency's English-language newspaper Vietnam News.

Q: What are the changes in the State's rights and obligations under the new Land Law? How do they uphold the provision that "the State administers the land on behalf of the people as a whole?"

A: The 2013 Land Law has seven more chapters and 66 more articles than in the 2003 Land Law. The new law institutionalises the points of view and orientations contained in Resolution 11-NQ/TW of the sixth Plenum of the Party Central Committee.

The law also institutionalises most existing policies and regulations to make them workable, while limiting their limitations during the implementation of the 2003 Land Law.

The new Land Law clearly regulates the State's rights, obligations and its role in land management. It says, "The State has the right to decide on land planning; land use planning schemes; the amount of land allocated to a household; land tenure; land allocation decisions; land lease and certificates on land use rights; decisions to acquire land for the purposes of national defence, national security and socio-economic development for the national interest and for the public and others."

The new law also states the rights and obligations of government agencies that act as land owner-ship representatives, such as the National Assembly, the Government, the People's Councils and People's Committees at different levels.

In addition to the rights of the State, the 2013 Land Law also regulates the State's obligations towards the protection of land users' rights, including the protection of land use rights and assets associated to a piece of land, compensation, support and resettlement policies to households when their land is acquired by the State.

The new law also covers the support and occupational training, as well as seeking employment for working people who lost their land during the process of transferring the land use structure or economic restructuring.

The law also covers land policies for ethnic minorities. These policies must reflect their customs, habits and honour their cultural identities and the real conditions found in each region.

In addition, the State has the responsibility to provide land information or make land information disclosures to all organisations and individuals.

The 2013 Land Law devotes the entire Chapter XI on the rights and obligations of land users. Under the law, land users have their right to transfer their land use rights and the duty to implement all rights and obligations written in the law. Their land use rights are protected by the law.

Under the 2013 Land Law, land use rights also included the rights to transfer, exchange, lease, inherit and mortgage.

Regarding land users' obligations, the law states that the land must be used in accordance with what is specified in the certificate of land use rights; and the users have to register their land with the authorities.

In case they want to transfer their land use rights to others, they have to complete all required procedures and financial responsibilities.

Q: What's about the case when the State decides to acquire land?

A: Article 54 of the 2013 Land Law says the State will only acquire land from individuals or organisations for national defence or security objectives and for the socio-economic development interests of the nation or public.

Land acquisitions must be done in a manner of transparency and accountability and pay compensation in accordance with the laws.

Article 61 details cases in which land is acquired for national defence and security. Article 62 details cases of land being acquired for socio-economic development in the interest of the nation and the public. In these cases, they must have the approval from the correct level of authorities.

For example: (i) i mportant national projects must be approved by the National Assembly; (ii) Projects requiring the approval of the Prime Minister; and (iii) Projects requiring the approval of the Provincial People's Councils and the Provincial People's Committee.

A key purpose of having such tight regulations on land acquisition for socio-economic projects (in the interest of the nation and the public) is to restrain abuses of power and corruption.

Q: What are the new points in the law regarding the idea of promoting transparency in land management and land use?

A: For land planning and land use planning schemes, the law regulates that project owners have to organise people's consultations before making final decisions on land acquisitions. This is one way to promote the practice of transparency and democracy.

Once the land planning and land use planning schemes are approved, they must be made available throughout the land planning and land use process for all interested organisations and individuals to know and supervise their implementation.

Regarding land acquisitions, for projects that don't fall within the categories requiring approvals from the National Assembly, the Prime Minister or the Provincial People's Councils, the project owners are allowed to receive land through transfers, land as capital contributions or leasing of land.

Regarding compensation, support and resettlement, the law clearly specifies that compensation must be decided by the Provincial People's Committee at the time that land is revoked; the support is aimed to stabilise the lives of affected people, including production, occupational training and employment, as well as others.

On land prices, an important principle says in the law that the land price is based on the land use specified on the land use certificate, land tenure and to remain close to the market price or the income generated from the land.

The land price table is changed every five years and is adjusted when there is a large change in the market.

T he law also contains new regulations on the roles of construction offices, land appraisal agencies and land pricing consultants in land evaluation and hiring the service of land evaluation agents in setting land price in some specific cases.

The law also covers the imperative of giving fair treatment to domestic and foreign investors seeking access to land.

All in all, a very important objective of 2013 is to strengthen the oversight role of the National Assembly, the People's Councils at different levels, the Viet Nam Fatherland Front, social organisations and people on the land management and land use schemes.

Q: To bring the new Land Law to life, what are the most important activities to be done right now?

A: Government agencies and localities nation-wide have launched the campaign to promote the people's awareness of the law.

The government will quickly issue guiding documents enabling the sound implementation of the law. The Prime Minister will instruct ministries, sectors and localities to review existing legal documents and make necessary amendments to ensure they are in harmony with the law.-VNA