New Delhi: Government is moving to water down certain provisions of the Land Acquisition Act to make it investor-friendly and has initiated consultations with political parties to evolve a consensus on the changes to be made in the farmer-friendly Law.
In a note sent to the PMO, the Rural Development Ministry has suggested a number of amendments to the Act that seeks to dilute pro-farmer provisions like mandatory consent of at least 70 per cent locals for acquiring land for PPP projects and 80 per cent for acquiring land for private projects.
The Rural Development Ministry`s proposals also include dilution of a key clause of Social Impact Assessment study criticised by states as time consuming for industrialisation process.
"The Consent Clause (Section 2(2)) should be re-examined as ownership of land vests with the Government in PPP projects. The consent clause should be removed from PPP projects. Alternatively, consent requirement may be brought down to 50 per cent," says the Ministry in its note.
It says that "mandatory Social Impact Assessment study should be done away with. SIA should be confined to large projects/PPP Projects as it may delay acquisition process."
Official sources said today that Rural Development Minister Nitin Gadkari along with his ministerial colleagues have started informal consultations with leaders of various political parties.
On the basis of the feedback, an all party meeting may be convened.
If the consensus is evolved, the government will try to bring the amendments to the Act in the current session itself, the sources said.
The government has made it clear that it is making initiatives to bring changes in the Act after the states complained that no infrastructure project is taking up after it was enforced few months back.
Sounding a note of caution , Muhammad Ali Khan, who played a key role in drafting the Act under UPA-II`s Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, has said that every provision of the law was drafted after much deliberations and widespread consultations.
"The minister ensured that every clause had a justifiable rationale. Any amendments must follow this same standard of diligence," Khan said reacting to the government`s move.