FICCI wants draft land acquisition bill revised
New Delhi, Jan 1 (IANS) The government should review provisions of the draft Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011 to make it viable for the industry to acquire land for projects, an industry lobby suggested Sunday.
The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) said the industry was finding it difficult to acquire land and the draft bill would make the process more difficult as it restricted opportunities for land owners to sell land.
'FICCI feels that any act should recognize the fact that there are a large number of people who would like to move out of agriculture and sell their land. There are enough statistics to prove this but the current bill seems to have overlooked this fact.'
The bill introduced in parliament in September last year seeks to update India's 117-year-old land acquisition laws and overhaul the rehabilitation and resettlement policy.
According to the industry lobby, in the last decade rural population increased by 12.2 percent whereas urban population increased at the rate of 32 percent. While in 2001 rural population constituted 72 percent of the total population in India, in 2011 it constituted 68.8 percent.
Also, average size of the operational holding in agriculture declined by 46 percent in 2005-06 to 1.23 hectares from 2.28 hectares in 1970-71. The decline in the operated area can be attributed to conversion of land for industrialization or transfer to meet the requirement of non-agricultural purposes, FICCI said.
The industry lobby also suggested that private companies should be allowed to purchase the land directly from the land owners after paying market based compensation.
'Government should provide the enabling framework for facilitating this process of acquisition and rehabilitation.'
On the issue of relief and rehabilitation (R&R) provisions in the draft bill, FICCI says these entitlements are going to translate into huge cost and administrative burden for the industry.
Saying that there is no upper limit for R&R expenditure in the bill, FICCI called for a cap on the R&R at 30-40 percent of the land acquisition cost.
FICCI also suggested that land applied under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, should not be covered under this act as it will create avoidable litigations.