Business Standard, 18 April 2014, New Delhi: The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) will press to the next government for redrafting the recently enacted Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act.
“The new (land acquisition) Act is extremely bureaucratic, with the introduction of a social impact assessment. It is not pro-farmer; it provides for too many committees and too many approvals. It will be too time-consuming a process,”Amitabh Kant, secretary, DIPP, told Business Standard.
Kant said land acquisition for large-scale infrastructure projects had “come to a complete standstill” and the new government, irrespective of whether it was formed by theCongress or the Bharatiya Janata Party, had to work on amending the law, making it more industry-friendly.
“The new government will have to recognise that if manufacturing has to move forward, along with infrastructure, the law has to be redrafted keeping in mind that a fair price is paid to the farmer. The Act has to be simplified for the sake of manufacturing and growth and then only we will see foreign capital flowing in,” said Kant.
He said DIPP will suggest empowering district collectors in each state to authorise providing of up to 500 acres for small-scale industrial projects.
“The new government has to understand the challenge of manufacturing industry today. Indian industry simply cannot grow with the hands tied. Entrepreneurship works on three main factors – land, labour and capital. All land acquisition activities in the process have virtually come to a standstill. Manufacturing is plummeting and as a country we cannot let that suffer, as it is crucial for job creation,” he added.
The new law – Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act – came into effect from this January, replacing the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, with the objective of giving a fair price for land acquired from farmers. It was passed during the monsoon session of Parliament last September.
Kant said the objective of giving a fair price to farmers according to the current market price can still be met without putting too much emphasis on the social impact assessment.
Under the new law, it is mandatory to get the consent of at least 70 per cent of the affected people for acquiring land for public-private partnership projects and 80 per cent for acquiring land for private companies.
It stipulates establishment of a State Social Impact Assessment Unit, the office of a commissioner, rehabilitation and resettlement, and a State-Level Monitoring Committee by each state government.
Developers will have to pay four times the market price for rural land and up to twice the value of urban land for acquiring for purposes of public works or industrial activities.