The government, which surprised even activists with its ‘over the board’ proposals in the land draft bill, has developed cold feet when it came to delivery.
The Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill 2011 as introduced in Parliament on Wednesday by rural development minister Jairam Ramesh is a dilution of a compensation structure proposed in the draft. (see box)"I received concerns from various quarters including the states that such huge compensation would escalate costs — prohibitive for projects to come up. We arrived at a ratio which would still be acceptable," he said.
Three weeks ago Ramesh had stated, “I am not here (as a rural development minister) to take care of the interests of the industry.” The shift comes after the cabinet meet on Monday in which some ministers had objected to the “burdening proposals”.
Under a new definition of public purpose, land can be acquired by states for private companies ‘for production of public goods or provision of public services’.
“Which industry produces a good which would not be used by public,” questions a NAC member, part of the council’s working group on land acquisition.
The minister also clarified the new law would not override 16 other central laws in force allowing land acquisition like the SEZ Act “unless notified to the extent by the Centre.” The effort is to strike a balance between economic growth and interests of rural India, the bill states.