New Delhi: The Modi government has prepared the blueprint to strike at the notorious Waqf mafia, which had so far a free hand. This decision came after the committee which reviewed the Waqf Properties Lease Rules, 2014 submitted its report to Union minister of minority affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

The slew of changes would clarify rental norms and help reduce litigation, apart from opening new vistas for better utilisation of these properties for the upliftment of the community.

Naqvi said the recommendations in the report would be implemented "as soon as possible" after his ministry examines them.

"The Modi government has been successfully carrying forward the campaign to utilise Waqf properties across the country for socio-economic empowerment of the needy sections," the minister said.

A five-member committee headed by Justice (retired) Zakiullah Khan was instituted in March 2018 to review the rules applicable to Waqf properties.

Naqvi said that earlier the government had decided to offer in 100% financial support under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karykram (PMJVK) if Waqf land was utilised for social and community purposes such as building schools, hospitals, medical colleges and skill centres.

Among other reforms to better utilise Waqf properties for the marginalised minority community, the Modi government is also in the process of GIS-mapping of all Waqf properties.

Meanwhile, the report recommended properties having lease rentals of Rs 3,000 to be excluded from bidding. It also proposed to provide relief to occupants of Waqf properties, uninterruptedly from 1995 or before by extending lease renewal for 10 years as a one-time concession.

Other suggestions included increasing lease period of properties used as shops from five to 10 years, and from one year to three years in case of agriculture.

The report also recommended that the legal heir of a tenant be allowed to transfer the unexpired period of a lease on payment of a transfer fee.

Waqf is an Islamic charity for the benefit of the community. There are around 5.76 lakh registered Waqf properties across the country which had been utterly mismanaged and therefore left in the hands of the land mafia under subsequent governments before 2014.