Accenture, not Commerce Ministry, praised Gujarat land policy: Anand Sharma

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said it was not correct to say that his ministry has praised or endorsed the land acquisition policy of the Narendra Modi-led Gujarat Government.

New Delhi: Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Wednesday said it was not correct to say that his ministry has praised or endorsed the land acquisition policy of the Narendra Modi-led Gujarat Government.

"That is not correct at all. It is not a report of the Commerce Ministry, but of the Accenture Company, Sharma said.

Modi had on Tuesday night asked how can the Congress-led UPA Government repeatedly criticise Gujarat`s development model, and simultaneously give the state "a trophy".

Addressing a rally in Delhi with the help of 3-D technology, Modi, referring to the Commerce and Industry Ministry`s "Best Practices to Improve the Business Environment Across States/UTs in India" report that was released today, said: "It is a report by your own government, and it states that in the whole country, only in Gujarat, will you find a development-friendly environment."

Squarely targeting Congress Party vice president Rahul Gandhi, who has termed the Gujarat model of development as a "toffee model", Modi said: "They were going around with balloons and toffees. But, it is your government which has given Gujarat a trophy now."
The report, he said appreciates Gujarat`s land acquisition policy, and in particular, mentions that "the state government does not interfere in land acquisition matters. It also says that other states should follow in Gujarat`s footsteps in this matter."

On land-related interventions in Gujarat, the report says that the model followed by Gujarat ensures a reduction in complexity across all processes in acquiring land, developing it and having access to supporting infrastructure, besides land allotment.

One of the important observations made is that the price determination of the land is based on market prices as determined by a scientific method that ensures good returns for farmers. There is also a provision for employing one member of each family whose land is acquired.

Online information highlights availability of land, power, gas, distance of port, airport, SEZ among 65 assessment parameters for industries and entrepreneurs. There is also an Online Grievance Redressal and a monitoring system for the entrepreneur.
Reports of business bodies such as FICCI, CII and the Planning Commission have recognized Gujarat`s land model as the best practice likely to help improve the business environment.

The report also praises the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) for adopting various features in the XGN (Extended Green Node), which the report says can be replicated by other states.

The report has been prepared by consultancy firm Accenture on behalf of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.

Land acquisition has been one of the major controversial topics of debate in the 2014 General Elections, with the Congress Party accusing the Gujarat Government of giving away prime land at cheap prices to big business, a charge that the latter has repeatedly denied.

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