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Last updated: 06 Jan, 2015  

Manufacturing.9..Thmb.jpg Land ordinance: A bold step forward

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Bikky Khosla | 06 Jan, 2015
The Modi government has tweaked the land acquisition norms. The Land Acquisition Act 2013 came into force last year, replacing an archaic law enacted in 1894. The earlier UPA government that had put the new Act in place termed it as progressive and farmer-friendly, but for many the Act swung the pendulum far the other way. Since then, the industry and most of the states have been lobbying for easing of some of the restrictive provisions of the Act. The latest move by the Centre, although somewhat falls short of expectations, sounds encouraging.

One of the major irritants in the Act was the provision that said that unused land must be returned after five years after the acquisition. The ordinance amending the Act extends this period to "a period specified for setting up of any project, or five years, whichever is later". This is a welcome move as a five-year period is too short for several types of projects to kick off. Similarly, I support the inclusion of a new section that has made five exceptions to the consent clause, including industrial corridors, defence, rural infrastructure, and infrastructure & social infrastructure projects, including those under PPP mode. This section removes one big bottleneck for such crucial projects.

I think the government is on the right track. In the past, it has initiated a number of reform measures --  most remarkably initiation of labour reforms, simplification of environmental regulations, further opening up of different sectors like defence, railways, insurance and construction, etc. -- but still a lot has to be done to achieve the goal of a brighter economic future for the country. So, the reforms must continue. It is unfortunate that some people try to project such efforts as a conflict between the farmers and the industrialists, but the government must think strategically and bite the bullet when necessary.

Meanwhile, there were two other important developments last week: first, it has been reported that the government may ask the public sector banks to form a holding company for itself and its subsidiaries, as the first step towards giving the banks financial autonomy. I think the best way to free the banks from the influence of politicians and bureaucrats is by bringing the government's ownership in them below 51 percent. Second, it has been confirmed that the existing FTP shall now continue till the end of the current financial year. It is a relief that the uncertainty is over now. Exporters would now be able to plan confidently for future export orders.

I invite your valuable opinions.  
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land ordinance
AROOP MITHAL | Mon Jan 12 03:25:35 2015
Our land around 20000 sq yards was acquired around 1972 and we got a compensation by court in 2009- and that too an amount which could not fetch land of 150 sq yards in 2009-what kind of law is this

land ordinanace
R.Srivathsan. | Mon Jan 12 01:45:58 2015
The editorial on land ordinance is really thought provoking. I would like to share my thoughts on this subject.All along we have been considering the industrialists or industrial activity as alien to Indian civic society. Agriculture and industry is nothing but organizations of human activity in food field and other human need field. Once you arrive at the important number i.e. GDP generated per acre of land between agriculture and industry you will find why we are procrastinating on land reforms. Agricultural activity is sacred and so the industrial activity.All cannot go to agricultural activity and just fill the need of food. A better thinking process is suggested.

Ramteerth | Thu Jan 8 03:34:20 2015
The crucial point lies in the five exceptions. Defense and Industrial corridors is okay. Loophole lies in infrastructure projects. Big houses engaged in infrastructure projects may take shelter under this clause and may grab even the cultivable lands from the farmers. Where is the protection for this ?

Land aquisation
Shiv Shanker sood | Wed Jan 7 16:00:59 2015
The Government has taken a bold and good step for the development of the country. But some extra things can be added to this by which the care of farmers will be much more. No farmer will lose land and will participate in the development willingly. I have worked on this and the solution for this is available.

Against land ordinance
D Pai | Wed Jan 7 16:00:16 2015
Ours is a socialistic government. not capitalistic. Go by constitution and not by wish of traders or industrialists. ordinance is Unconstitutional. Agriculture is a profession and industry is also a profession. Snatching land farmers and giving it to industrialists against constitutional promise of equal status. Hence ordinance is null and void. Are you people eating food or metal i cant understand, this is a bad move by a good Prime minister. Stop enjoying this nonsense ordinance which will discourage agriculturist and may be in due course farmers have only option of suicide, don't build your industry on blood of other farmers. Hope you will change your mind and rectify your thoughts.

about land acquisition
suraj shah | Wed Jan 7 13:31:23 2015
What is max time for holding land...?

Not so good article
Ragul | Wed Jan 7 09:59:44 2015
Dear Sir, you are an industrialist and hence supporting this ordinance, where as formers this is not true. One particular issue, which you have discussed is regarding the return of the unused lands, in which you are supporting the governments twist to make it safe in the hands of industries even if it lies waste. Sir please remember we can't eat steel, we are still not self-sufficient in agriculture. In this stage every square feet of farming land does matters. I request you to add this view also in the next article.

  Re: Not so good article
R.Srivathsan | Mon Jan 12 01:59:15 2015
Respected sir, Your point is well taken. Please open up your mind from age old thought of Industrial activity is not a needed activity and only agricultural activity is the needed activity. Please understand that All activities are need based be it industry or agriculture. Agriculturist will not grow an item which is not needed nor an industrialist will produce an item which is not needed by society. Your concern that that we are not self sufficient in agriculture is right but you must apply your mind to improve productivity in agriculture. See Israel's practice and you will find with one acre of land and 20% water consumption they are able to produce five time the agri wealth when compared to Indian farmers. Please fight for agri wealth productivity .

Land Reform
Greg | Wed Jan 7 05:24:10 2015
Does this act block politicians from stealing the use of land for their own greed as is the current case and are there any reforms planned that would take back lands and monies essentially stolen by politicians.

  Re: Land Reform
R.Srivathsaqn | Mon Jan 12 02:02:58 2015
Dear friend, Please open up your mind and concentrate in improvidng agri wealth productivity. Israel is five time more productive than India per acre of land. Our agri friends can lead as a luxurious life .

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