CII suggests policy for land acquisition legislation

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CII
New Delhi, May 17: The proposed Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill that is expected to be introduced in the Monsoon Session of the Parliament, needs to include a provision for setting up Land Bank corporations to facilitate acquisition and disbursement of land for industrial use; digitization of land records and also zoning of land as these will be key for systematic development of industrial land, said a CII press statement.

The State should fulfill its responsibility for economic development and must play its critical and key role in acquiring land for industrial projects, as planned industrialization is essential for job creation and inclusive growth.

Chandrajit Banerjee, Director Generaal CII, said, "Agglomerating land from numerous owners is not a task which the corporate sector can do effectively, especially in the absence of proper land records and with small, scattered land-holdings. Any attempt on the part of the government to transfer this task squarely on to industry, without improving the system, will badly affect industrial development and overall economic growth in the country."

In the statement the CII has strongly recommended the inclusion of the following provisions in the proposed Bill:

-Setting up of State Land Bank Corporations: These could be dedicated institutions set up for acquiring fallow, barren and unproductive as well as other lands, ex-ante, for industrial purposes, as a transparent and viable solution to the problem. The job of the State Land Bank Corporations would be to scientifically acquire large tracts of non-cultivable and other lands, develop them as land banks for the future and have a transparent mechanism to pass them on to the private sector. This proposal will set in process a dynamic collaboration between the public and private sectors that was prevalent in an earlier era.

In the past many States took the responsibility for land acquisition and development for industrial use. Unfortunately this model has become defunct in many states and the private sector has increasingly been left to fend for itself to go through land records that are archaic or non-existent, and piece together bits of land.

-CII furthermore, recommends the National Digitization of Land Records and the planned Zoning of Land. Archaic and un-authentic land records are the biggest pit-falls and road-blocks in land acquisition & disbursement of compensation. The digitization of land records, across all states, over a specified time-period, with comprehensive scrutiny would help make land records transparent, tamper-proof and facilitate detailed planning of land use for industrial, agriculture and residential development. Simultaneously, with digitization, CII also recommends ex-ante zoning of land so as to have a clear mapping, identification and segregation of the land for various purposes, over a 100-150 year horizon. Updating, digitization and zoning of land records will be key for achieving success in the process of systematic development of industrial land, said the CII release.

-In order to avoid controversies, such zoning and acquisitions by Land Bank Corporation must be made ex-ante, that is, before it is allocated to any particular private sector entity.

CII, as one of the leading Industry bodies, emphasized that the three recommendations mentioned above need to find a place in the Bill itself to facilitate achieving the Government's objectives of inclusive growth and job creation through enterprise and industry.

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