The National Advisory Council chaired by Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday recommended state governments be allowed to acquire land for 'public purpose' projects — including those by private developers.
It suggested that every land deal have the consent of 70% of the people who would be displaced. The consent of the remaining 30% would be taken for granted.
The proposal — to bring forth a new National Development, Land Acquisition, Resettlement Act — also recommends landowners be paid six times the registered value of their property.
"The government's acquisition would save unorganised, small and tribal cultivators from exploitation by private companies who can grab land by paying a pittance,” said NC Saxena, a member of the group that drafted the recommendations.
The NAC defined public purpose projects as those involving strategic and infrastructure development, and social services.
The move comes barely a week after West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee changed tack to say industrial development was among her priorities.
The NAC approval also comes after Rahul Gandhi's support to the farmers' stir in Greater Noida villages for better compensation for land acquired for the Yamuna Expressway.
The proposal will be sent to the government in a few days. The Centre has said a bill to amend the land acquisition law would be introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament.