The rural development ministry would be asking the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to relax norms to acquire land for projects by scrapping mandatory consent provision for public private partnership (PPP) projects and reducing it to 50% from the existing 80% for private acquisition.
The slew of changes in the land acquisition law 2013 for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s approval means that consent of half of the affected families would be enough to acquire land by private parties, a move aimed at improving investor sentiment.
The corporate world had cried foul at the 80% consent clause saying it would make winning acquisition approvals impossible. Sympathetic towards their concerns, rural development minister Nitin Gadkari had said a proposal on changes in the law would be submitted to the PM.
The ministry would also be suggesting to the PMO that people’s view will not matter if any public agency was participating in the project.
The changes proposed to overhaul the law enacted in 2013 also includes lifting a ban on acquisition of multi-crop land making 48% of the total 179 million of hectares of total agricultural land available for acquisition. The present law limited acquisition option only for waste-land and single crop agriculture land.
The ministry also wants that provision for appraising the projects on its impact on livelihood of people, called social impact assessment, for all projects be done away with as it could delay in execution of the projects.
The ministry also wants the PMO to redraw the definition of the ‘affected families’ as it believes that the present definition of those working in the affected area for three years prior to the land acquisition can lead to false claims.
“The ministry had promised the states that it would act on the suggestion urgently and within a fortnight of the meeting we are ready to place the proposed amendments before the Prime Minister,” a senior official in the ministry told HT.
The official maintained that while the PM will take a call on the proposed changes, the ministry’s report to the PM is radical in the sense it overhauls the law that was perceived to be anti-industry and farmer friendly.
The 20-point document by the ministry includes suggestions like modifying the clause which stipulates that land acquisition proceedings would lapse if compensation is not paid or possession of land not taken.