The land acquisition bill was meant to be a politically significant legislation for the UPA, allowing it to strike a balance between industrial growth and protecting the livelihoods of farm and tribal communities. The same issues, however, seem to have brought forth differing views from within the ruling dispensation — with important players differing over where the bill's priorities should lie.
The main objections to the bill come from ministers Anand Sharma (commerce), Kamal Nath (urban development), CP Joshi (road transport) and Ajit Singh (civil aviation), who claim that provisions such as social impact assessment and higher compensation would stunt industrial growth — further affecting an economy that is limping at under 6% growth. Interestingly, these provisions were endorsed by the UPA chairperson-led NAC."The ministers' opposition emerges from reports that (incorrectly) attribute project delays to acquisition problems. The bill, though the dilution of NAC's proposal, would simplify the process and expedite industrial growth. A meagre 2-3% cost escalation due to compensation and rehabilitation should not matter much," N C Saxena, member, National Advisory Council, told HT.
Further complicating matters is the fact that two key UPA allies — NCP leader Sharad Pawar and Trinamool Congress head Mamata Banerjee — have adopted differing views. While Banerjee is opposed to the state's role in land acquisition, Pawar endorses the ‘development viewpoint’ adopted by the ministries.