Simplifying Land acquisition Act still on government agenda
Garima Singh- The Modi government, despite pressure from sections of the Opposition as well as within its own ranks, has still not given up on its wish to make the Land Acquisition Act more investor-friendly by diluting some of its provisions. Government sources said it would come by the next session of Parliament or, if necessary, as an ordinance before that – but only after the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand and Delhi (the last named has not been announced as yet). This is because the government has decided “at the highest level” that the Act be amended to make land acquisition simpler.
Indeed, last month, it had appeared that the amendments to the Act may come up in the ongoing winter session. But with a new minister in the Rural Development Ministry, Chaudhury Birendra Singh, there has been a slowing down of the process. Mr. Singh has reportedly made it clear that he is opposed to diluting the Act, unlike his predecessor Nitin Gadkari who, during his short stint in the Ministry, had worked hard to build consensus on amending it. At a recent internal meeting, Mr. Singh even told ministry officials that farmers’ interests would not be compromised and there was no need to get cowed down by corporate lobbies.
The clause in the Act relating to the consent of seventy per cent landowners being mandatory for acquisition of any land for industry or infrastructure made it almost impossible for anyone to acquire land: however, if necessary, the compensation amounts could be enhanced if necessary to protect the interests of farmers.
 Smita Gupta, Simplifying Land acquisition Act still on government agenda, The Hindu, 10 (December 16, 2014).