The amended Land Acquisition Bill introduced in Parliament on Monday will create millions of jobs, meet the aspirations of farmers, and help spur growth in the economy, apex industry body, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said in a statement in New Delhi. It is a vital piece of legislation that will seek to bridge the economic divide and propel inclusive growth in the country.
“Industry and farmers should not be viewed as opponents when it comes to the land bill. Development needs equitable participation by industry and the farm community. Job creation through inclusive growth is the foundation on which development and growth reside and it is this spirit that embodies the new Land Bill”, CII President, Sumit Mazumder said, expressing industry’s support for the pro-farmer pro-growth Land Bill.
“The land acquisition ordinance could not have come at a more opportune time when developmental infrastructure and industrial projects worth crores of rupees are delayed due to hurdles in land acquisition. This deprives millions of landless people of job opportunities and forces them to migrate to urban slums to look for livelihood”, Mazumder said. India’s urban population is expected to reach 600 million by 2030 and requires adequate housing, jobs and manufacturing facilities. The Land Bill is expected to benefit millions of rural migrants and help the country urbanise.
The Government’s move to maintain the compensation package at 4 times the market value in rural areas and 2 times in urban areas will go a long way in ensuring that the land owners and farmers are adequately compensated. CII supports this provision as such land owners and farmers are important stakeholders in the developmental process.
Farmers with small landholdings are compelled to look for other means for livelihood in addition to farming. The acquisition of land at above market rates as well as adequate provisions for resettlement and rehabilitation will provide new opportunities to farmers as well as the rural poor who are seeking new jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities, CII said in the statement.
The Land Bill applies to cases where land is to be acquired by Government for public use and infrastructure projects. Certain key areas like affordable housing, rural infrastructure including electrification and social infrastructure projects are exempted in the new Land Bill from the mandatory consent of 70-80 percent of land owners and Social Impact Assessment (SIA). This would help to fast-track the land acquisition process in areas of public good.
Such exemptions are also applicable for public-private-partnerships in social infrastructure projects such as educational institutions and hospitals. In a bid to restrict misuse, it is proposed that the ownership of land in such cases would continue to vest with the Government.
Another major provision in this ordinance is inclusion of all 13 existing central legislations so that land owners are eligible for same increased compensation and rehabilitation and resettlement entitlements.