The Madhya Pradesh government on Tuesday promulgated an ordinance to amend the Madhya Pradesh Land Revenue Code of 1959 to make it easier for investors to purchase farmland for industrial purposes.
The ordinance, which was cleared at a meeting of the state cabinet, relaxes the ceiling on the purchase of agricultural land for non-agricultural projects.
Investors could purchase up to 56 acres, subject to several conditions such as the nature of the project, for non-agricultural ventures. If investors wanted to purchase land beyond this limit, they had to approach several departments and complete paperwork which could take a few months.
Under the provisions of the ordinance, investors can purchase land from farmers and inform the district collector or sub-divisional magistrate within 90 days.
Government spokesman Narottam Mishra said the new provisions will ease procedures for purchasing land.
The move comes at a time when the BJP-led government at the Centre is struggling to win parliamentary approval for a bill that seeks to ease land acquisition norms.
The land acquisition bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on March 10 and the BJP is trying to secure the backing of smaller parties to ensure its passage in the Rajya Sabha, where the Congress has vowed to block it.
Several political parties and farmers' groups across the country have opposed the bill, describing it as "anti-farmer". The BJP is also facing accusations of selling out to corporations and hurting farmers for whom land is their only source of livelihood.
Rs 1,200 crore for buying fertilisers
The state cabinet also decided to allocate Rs 1,200 crore to the Madhya Pradesh State Cooperative Marketing Federation Limited (MARKFED) to help farmers purchase and store fertilisers ahead of the planting season.
The allocation was more than double the earlier figure of Rs 500 crore.
Loan for completing Project Uday
The cabinet decided to borrow Rs 1,500 crore from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to implement the second phase of Project Uday.
According to a government website, Project Uday aims to provide "sustainable infrastructure and services" to residents of the cities of Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior and Jabalpur.
The state needs Rs 2,100 crore to complete the project, which will also improve water supply and sewerage systems of 159 towns.