'Amendments to Land Acquisition Act likely in Winter session'

 The government is likely to bring amendments to the Land Acquisition Act in the Winter session of Parliament, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Thursday.

PTI| Last Updated: Oct 30, 2014, 23:53 PM IST

New Delhi: The government is likely to bring amendments to the Land Acquisition Act in the Winter session of Parliament, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Thursday.

"Work is going on to see how best it can be made much more user friendly. I am clear that sooner there would be something happening, ideally which means Winter Session because we do not want major projects to suffer waiting for this amendment, waiting for this change," she said.

The Act has faced criticism from various quarters including some states.

"We are definitely clear that as it stands, the Land Acquisition Act is very difficult for anyone who wish to move forward in acquiring land," Sitharaman told a news channel.

She further said that the amendments would look into making the acquisition process easier without touching on the compensation clause.

"We will be looking at the processes. We will certainly be looking at the exceptions that will be added to the Act and those are the ways by which we want to make it user friendly rather than touch the compensation," she added.

The Rural Development Ministry has already suggested a number of amendments that will water down provisions such as mandatory consent of at least 70 per cent locals for acquiring land for PPP projects, and 80 per cent for private projects.

The Act enacted during the UPA government is likely to go undergo drastic changes if Prime Minister Narendra Modi gives nod for the Ministry's proposals which also include dilution of a key clause of Social Impact Assessment study criticised by states as time consuming for industrialisation process.

The Ministry's suggestions for drastic changes in the Act came after most of the states recently came out openly against the new Act, complaining that it had hurt the process of acquiring land for infrastructure projects.