Calming the fears expressed by the Indian industry over recently passed the new Land Acquisition Act, Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh on Sunday said that the Act would make projects economically unviable.
Addressing a Press Conference in Mumbai, Ramesh said the new act applies only to the land acquired by Central and State authorities for any public purpose, while there is no bar whatsoever, on purchase of private land. He said "industry must look beyond land acquisition by Government and explore land purchase opportunities. In fact, in 20 years from now, there should only be land purchases and no land acquisition".
Reiterating his stand that land acquisition should become an act of last resort, Ramesh said his Ministry has been working towards improving land records management in the country and promoting transparency in land sales. He informed that Rs 1000 crore National Land Record Modernization Programme is being implemented with focus on computerization of land records, digitization of maps and resurvey. He said Maharashtra has progressed well but is yet to catch up with Haryana, Gujarat, Karnataka and Tripura.
The Minister also said that the new Act promises fair compensation for the farmers and those who lose their lands. "Land is still considered the biggest social security in India. Since they will be dispossessed of their assets, they are entitled for a fair and just compensation" he said.
The Minister said the new law has been made under the concurrent list of the Constitution and States could only improve upon the quantum of compensation as well as other provisions in favour of the land owners and farmers. He said it would be notified either on January 1, 2014 or April 1, 2014 and appealed to all state governments to implement it in right spirit.
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