Land acquisition: Ramesh, Sharma reject Par panel suggestions

A recommendation by a Parliamentary panel was that government should not acquire land for private businesses.

New Delhi: A recommendation by a Parliamentary panel that government should not acquire land for private businesses was on Friday rejected by two Union Ministers--Jairam Ramesh and Anand Sharma--who said it was "regressive" and that the State cannot "abandon" its role.

Sharma, the Commerce and Industry Minister, said the "regressive" recommendation will hurt industrial growth and investment and that he will oppose it when the matter comes up before the Cabinet.

"...You cannot take a view which is regressive, which prevents the growth of manufacturing. Virtually it would dampen the investors sentiment," Sharma told reporters.

Rejecting the panel recommendation, Ramesh, the Minister for Rural Development, said, "We must recognise that we are not in a stage of development where government role in land acquisition can be completely eliminated and abandoned."

A Parliamentary Standing Committee in a report presented yesterday set tough conditions for land acquisition and said the government should not acquire land for private businesses and underlined the need for a clearer definition of "public purpose" in this regard.

Sharma said the suggestions are not "acceptable" as it would "stop" manufacturing in the country. "We have to encourage investments especially in manufacturing sector, then only jobs will be created".

"I have taken on board the concerns of the industry. We will be placing this very firmly before the cabinet because we cannot take any step which infact goes against the original spirit and de-industrialise the country or brings down industrial growth and investment," he said.

The minister said states have an important role in zoning of the land and they are acquiring land to set up national investment and manufacturing zones (NIMZs), which aims at creating 100 million jobs in the next decade and increasing share of manufacturing from 16 per cent at present to 25 per cent by 2022.

Ramesh said the new Land Acquisition Bill, which will be tabled in Parliament in the Monsoon Session, will address the panel`s concerns and not further depress the sentiments of investors in the country.

"The public purpose can at times be met by government organisations and at times these are met even by private companies also. The notion that private companies serve only private interest is not something that I believe in," Ramesh told reporters.


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