New Delhi, Sept. 26: Manmohan Singh has asked rural development minister Jairam Ramesh to include designated manufacturing zones under the ambit of public purpose to enable government acquisition of land, a move seen as a big concession to facilitate industrial growth.
The revised land acquisition bill, circulated among members of a group of ministers (GoM) set up to examine the legislation after five cabinet ministers opposed it saying it was “anti-industry”, seeks to bring designated manufacturing zones like National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZs) under the definition of public purpose. This will allow governments to be involved in the acquisition of land.
The GoM is meeting tomorrow to examine the Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill, 2012. Sources said the Prime Minister asked Ramesh to include the provision earlier this month.
The original bill allowed the government to acquire land for public purposes, which includes defence purpose, highways, railways, educational institutions, PPP projects and private companies that provide public goods and services.
Chandrajit Banerjee, director-general of industry body CII, said acquisition for designated manufacturing zones such as the NIMZs was not possible under the original bill. The requirement of land is huge, around 5,000 acres for each such zone, he said. These enclaves will serve as greenfield industrial townships and will have all facilities to encourage manufacturing.
The National Manufacturing Policy, notified by department of industrial policy and promotion last year, lays stress on setting up of NIMZs. These will be developed as integrated industrial townships.
“In the bill, designated manufacturing zones were kept out of (the term) public purpose. Industry bodies were demanding its inclusion. The decision to include them will enable the government to acquire land for such purpose. This will help large-scale manufacturing to come up,” Banerjee, the CII director-general, said.
Union commerce minister Anand Sharma had earlier demanded the inclusion of such manufacturing zones. He, along with urban development minister Kamal Nath, had strongly opposed the original bill at a cabinet meeting last month saying it would affect industrialisation and urbanisation.
With Ramesh’s ministry accepting the demand, the revised bill is expected to be cleared at tomorrow’s meeting of the GoM, which is headed by agriculture minister Sharad Pawar.
The rural development ministry, however, has not changed the other key provisions in the legislation, which includes the requirement to conduct a social impact assessment before acquisition of land and making the proposed law applicable to special economic zones (SEZs).