"Some changes may be necessary (to the land laws). We will first try to reach a consensus and if that is not possible we will go ahead and take the decision," he said at the India Global Forum meeting here.
The states have come out openly against the new Land Acquisition Act, complaining that it hurt the process of acquiring land for infrastructure projects. Jaitley said that the "obstacles" to the land acquisition laws will have to be first removed in order to implement the concept of smart cities in India.
Jaitley in the Budget had proposed an allocation of Rs 7,060 crore in this financial year for developing 100 'smart cities' in the country. The Rural Development Ministry has already suggested a number of amendments to the Land Acquisition Act that will water down provisions such as mandatory consent of at least 70 per cent locals for acquiring land for PPP projects, and 80 per cent for private projects.
The Act enacted during the UPA government is likely to undergo drastic changes if Prime Minister Narendra Modi gives his approval for the Ministry's proposals which also include dilution of a key clause of Social Impact Assessment study, criticised by states as time consuming for industrialisation process.
The amendments to the Act will be mainly directed towards making the acquisition process simpler and not tweaking the compensation structure as stipulated in it.