Changes In Land Acquisition Law May Trigger Spate Of Reforms – The Economic Times – 29-Dec-2014

December 30, 2014 - Uncategorized

Setting the Pace Run-up to next year’s Union budget will see a slew of big-ticket announcements from the Modi govt, which will not shy away from using an ordinance for land acquisition rule too
The Narendra Modi government is set to unleash several big-ticket announcements over the next few weeks, starting with changes in the land acquisition law through an ordinance, setting the stage for the budget that will be unveiled at the end of February by finance minister Arun Jaitley.Unable to get parliamentary approval because it doesn’t have the numbers in the Rajya Sabha, the government used the ordinance route to raise the foreign investment limit in the insurance sector to 49% from 26%, signalling its determination to push through with reforms even at the cost of a political backlash. The BJP-led government has been emboldened by the latest electoral win in Jharkhand and poll results in Jammu & Kashmir to pursue policy changes amid criticism from some quarters that it has not done enough in this regard since coming to power in May.

“There are a few more steps in the offing,“ said a senior government functionary, indicating that the reform momentum will be maintained.

The direct benefit transfer scheme, aimed at ensuring that subsidies are sent to the bank accounts of beneficiaries, is set to be launched nationwide from January 1 following a pilot. The move could be followed up with the weeding out of some who have hitherto been beneficiaries of various welfare programmes.

There has been a clamour for changes in the land acquisition rule that came into force on January 1 because it has led to a complete halt in development. No land has been acquired for public purposes under the new law because of some of its draconian provisions, stalling industrial development that was already squeezed by the previous government’s inability to get projects off the ground. The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparen cy in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013 was enacted by the previous United Progressive Alliance government after violent protests over land being taken away from farmers for various projects.

The government has already indicated its unhappiness with provisions of the law that have stalled land acquisitions. “Discussions are on… draft is being finalised,“ a senior government official told ET. “Ordinance could be taken up by the cabinet soon.“

The government favours expansion of the list of exempted sectors under the land law to include defence, education and healthcare and infrastructure while leaving compensation unchanged.

FM’s List of Priorities

Obviously , the first priority has to be to arrest slowdown in growth and radically improve the investments environment. The government in the past few months has undertaken several reforms . More are to follow.Additionally the liquidity in the market has to be encouraged and improved.

The services sector is doing well. Additional investment in irrigation is required. Changes and reforms which impact favorably on the manufacturing sector have to be undertaken. That is a focus which I intent to pursue.

The next few months will witness an increased focus by the Government to fight black money both within and outside the country . If we succeed, this will add an additionality of resource for the national economy .

 

The Economic Times

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