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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Infra Boost!Speedy clearance to projects of Rs 1,000 crore or above,an attempt to fire up the economy!Land Acquisition Bill cleared !

Infra Boost!Speedy clearance to projects of Rs 1,000 crore or above,an attempt to fire up the economy!Land Acquisition Bill  cleared !
Thus, the monopolistic aggression against the nature and nature associated indigenous aborigin communities going to be intensified. Digital citizenship would be the greatest weapon to rob the people of India. The illegal unconstitutional UID Project has become topmost priority of the government and the political parties affiliated to the ruling hegemony have never opposed it. In fact, the hegemony is united rock solid in the ethnic cleansing drive.
Troubled Galaxy Destroyed Dreams, Chapter:829
Palash Biswas

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Infra boost sets the mood of promoter builder raj!So, finally a good news for the infrastructure sector, which has really faced the trouble of policy paralysis, slow approvals, no certainty as far as approvals are concerned are concerned.The UPA has been positioning two big ticket ideas. One is on the infrastructure sector and the other on cash transfer scheme through the Aadhar cards.

Thus, the monopolistic aggression against the nature and nature associated indigenous aborigin communities going to be intensified. Digital citizenship would be the greatest weapon to rob the people of India. The illegal unconstitutional UID Project has become topmost priority of the government and the political parties affiliated to the ruling hegemony have never opposed it. In fact, the hegemony is united rock solid in the ethnic cleansing drive.

The Union Cabinet today cleared the proposal to set up Cabinet Committee on Investment to expedite approvals to projects of Rs 1,000 crore or above, in an attempt to fire up the economy. However,Union Cabinet on Thursday deferred decision on setting up National Investment Board (NIB) after prime minister Manmohan Singh called for some more consultations to resolve the remaining inter-ministerial differences. But the controversial Land Acquisition Bill was today cleared by the Union Cabinet, making mandatory the consent of 80 per cent of people whose land is taken for private projects. In the case of Public-Private Partnership projects, the bill makes mandatory obtaining of consent of 70 per cent of the people whose land will be for acquired. The bill was given the go-ahead at the Cabinet presided by Prime Minister Manmonan Singh. The bill was finalised by the Rural Development Ministry incorporating the suggestion of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi who had asked the government to take the consent from 80 per cent land owners for purchase of land for the purpose of setting up industries and PPP projects. Sources had said that Gandhi was not in favour of the Group of Ministers' proposal that the consent of two-thirds of "land losers" (from whom land would be purchased) was enough for acquiring land for industries and PPP projects. The GoM had suggested that the consent clause be kept at 67 per cent for PPP projects and private projects. The government had constituted the GoM after some ministers voiced strong reservations against certain provisions of the bill at the Cabinet meeting. Minister of State for Rural Development Lalchand Kataria had yesterday told the Rajya Sabha that the government intends to introduce the official amendments to the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011 in the Lok Sabha in the winter session.

Kataria had also told the reporters that the bill has a provision for return of the unutilised land.

Land Acquisition Act, 1894 had no provision for return of the unutilised land.

The committee to fast-track nod to mega projects will be headed by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It has the power to expedite big infrastructure projects of investment worth Rs 1000 crore and above.

The committee will identify projects in notified sectors and prescribe time limits for approvals. However, the constitution to be decided by the PM will also project monitoring in notified sectors and review implementation of delayed projects.

If a ministry has to give approval there will be a 30 day window and if the ministry does not give some sort of a response by that point in time, it will then be taken over by the Cabinet Committee on Investment to take forward. This is likely to bring in some degree of predictability when it comes to the large degree of infrastructure proposals and large big ticket infrastructure investments.


Key takeaways

    PM to head Cabinet Committee on Investment
    Cabinet investment panel to fast-track nod to mega projs
    All infra ministries in Cabinet Committee on Investment
    Companies will not be allowed to go to Cabinet Committee on Investment
    Cabinet Committee on Investment to help with inter-ministerial difference
    To expedite big infra projects
    Power to expedite invst of  Rs 1,000 cr & above
    Will simplify rules followed by ministries
    To be headed by Prime Minister
    To identify projects in notified sectors
    To prescribe time limits for approvals
    Constitution to be decided by PM
    Project monitoring in notified sectors
    Review implementation of delayed projs

Amid controversy over reports that Walmart spent nearly Rs125 crore for lobbying with lawmakers to get access to Indian market, the US has said the global retail giant did not violate any American law as far as the matter is concerned.

Meanwhile,India would enhance relations with energy exporting countries and strategise with international markets to meet its growing energy needs, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said on Thursday.it means , India has to appease US corporate interests first.

"On the US side, I don't have any reason to believe that we have a violation of US law here. With regard to the Indian side, I'll refer you to them," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said yesterday, categorically dismissing allegations by Indian opposition parties in this regard.

Nuland was responding to questions on charges by opposition parties in India that Walmart spent huge sums in four years in lobbying before the US Congress, including on those related to enhanced market access for investment in India.

"We've seen these press reports. With regard to lobbying in the US, I think you know that the Lobby Disclosure Act of 1995 and the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 requires lobbyists for any company or organisation to disclose its activities in a periodic report to Congress," she said.

"So the report which some of these allegations have cited is a regularly required report for the US Government as part of our open government transparency in governance requirements," Nuland said.

Meanwhile, Walmart has also denied of being involved in any wrongdoing.

"These allegations are entirely false. In accordance with US law, American companies are required to disclose issues and expenditures associated with lobbying on a quarterly basis. The expenditures are a compilation of expenses associated with US federal lobbying contacts and include staffing cost, association dues and payments made to consultants, all in the US," a company spokesperson said in a statement.

The spokesperson said the company had "held discussions" with US officials about a range of "trade and investment issues" that impact its businesses in the US and worldwide, and disclosed this in accordance with the law.

The high-powered panel for according speedy clearance to infrastructure projects was initially mooted by Finance Minister P Chidamabram. He had suggested that the body be called National Investment Board (NIB).The Cabinet at its meeting today, however, renamed the body as Cabinet Committee on Investment. The panel will have ministers in charge of infrastructure sectors as its members.

Chidambaram's proposal had evoked sharp criticism from the Environment Ministry which had argued that the NIB would dilute its powers to take care of green concerns.

"All the concerns of the Environment Ministry have been addressed," the source said, adding that the committee would fast track and coordinate mega projects.

Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan had earlier written to the Prime Minister opposing any move to bypass the required green clearances for mega projects.

She had said that the proposal seems to have been mooted only for the benefit of large firms and investors, while having no provision for redressing the concerns of affected people.

Recently Chidambaram had said that there were over 100 projects, each involving investment of Rs 1,000 crore or more, that have been delayed due to various reasons.

"The proposal to set up Cabinet Committee on Investment, headed by Prime Minister, to fast-track mega projects of over Rs 1,000 crore was cleared," a source said.


Recently Chidambaram had said that there were over 100 projects, each involving investment of Rs 1,000 crore or more, that have been delayed due to various reasons.

"Our problem is not conceptualising projects. Our problem lies in getting numerous clearances and getting the project off the ground within a reasonable time," he had said.

Swedish businessman and former chief executive of International Finance Corporation Lars Thunell on Monday said the country should shed its obsession with mega projects and instead concentrate on having a multiple smaller ones, which can get us the same impact.

"Politicians have a tendency of liking mega projects. Instead, you should have a string of smaller projects," Thunnel, who is respected for his view on development finance, said delivering a lecture organised by Exim Bank here.

Thunell compared having smaller projects with keeping one's eggs in multiple baskets and said even if half of them fructify, the impact is very good, whereas if a single mega project fails to take off, as is the case with many projects here, all efforts go vain.

Later, speaking to reporters, he also congratulated an idea like the NIB (National Investment Board) saying it will help expedite bigger projects through the single window functioning it would offer.

Calling the ongoing financial turmoil as basically a challenge for creating jobs, Thunell called on leaders to help generate jobs by encouraging small businesses and concentrate on getting them into the formal, organised sector.

Given the state of sovereign finances, he said public private partnerships are the future wherein the government carries out its developmental agenda with the the help of private capital.

When asked about the controversy surrounding the GMR-Maldives over the Male airport, he said he would need to wait for the legal process to be over.

He also asked Indian businesses to concentrate on the African continent, saying the region, long neglected, is abound with opportunities now and India constitutes for only 6 percent of African trade.

The NIB is envisaged as body that is adequately empowered to clear large infrastructure projects of over Rs 1,000 crore delayed in the government machinery. Finance minister P Chidambaram had mooted the idea of the body at the meeting of the full planning commission in mid-September.The Economic Times reports.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) also deferred the fertiliser ministry's much-awaited new Urea Investment Policy. The policy was aimed at incentivising fertiliser firms setting up new plants and expanding existing capacity attracting an investment of over Rs 40,000 crore.

It was decided that more consultations should be held on the issue, a person privy to the developments said. The proposal could be taken up by the Cabinet next week. The environment ministry had expressed its reservations over the body, fearing that the body would dilute the ministry's powers.

Environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan had even written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying that she did not favour any such move to do away with environmental clearances for mega projects.

There are nearly 90 projects in the country of over Rs 1,000 crore stuck with various ministries. "Our problem is not conceptualising projects. Our problem lies in getting numerous clearances and getting the project off the ground within a reasonable time," Chidambaram had said last week in Lok Sabha.

Chidambaram seeks BJP help for key reforms legislations

Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday said that he has discussed five key economic reforms legislations with BJP leaders and expects them to be passed by Parliament in the current session.

"I have discussed all five economic reforms bills with two leaders of opposition (Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley). They understand there is an urgent need. I have offered to meet them again. I sincerely hope that principal opposition party would cooperate," he told reporters here.

"I hope all of them (economic reforms bills) will be passed," he said, adding, that whosoever is in the government has to get these legislations enacted.

The key economic reform Bill which are pending before Parliament including Banking Laws Amendment Bill, Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, Micro Finance Institutions (Development and Regulation) Bill, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill.

Two bills -- Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill, 2011, and Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2011,-- have already been passed in the Lok Sabha this session.

"I have got two passed in the Lok Sabha. One has gone to the Rajya Sabha. There are three more," Chidambaram said.

The discussion on Banking Reforms Bill could not be taken up in the Lok Sabha following protest by opposition which wanted the Bill to be referred back to the Standing Committee saying a significant clause has been added to it.

The Minister ruled out the possibility of referring it to the Standing Committee on Finance again saying, "No. There is only one clause. I have used Rule 80".

Chidambaram said that suggestions to include a new provision had come from the standing committee on food and consumer affairs.


On the possibility of dropping the clause from the Banking Bill, Chidambaram said, "But why? I have accepted another Standing Committee (on Food and Consumer Affairs Ministry) recommendation. There is only one clause".

The Clause, which is being objected to by the Opposition, seeks to allows banks to participate in commodity futures trading.

Of the other key reforms legislations, the Insurance Bill seeks to raise the FDI cap in the sector to 49 per cent, from the existing 26 per cent.

"I told them (Opposition) let me pass the Banking Bill and I would come back to you over the weekend and discuss the Insurance Bill", he said.

Besides, the Pension Bill also proposes to allow FDI in the sector to the extent it is proposed in Insurance Bill, which is 49 per cent.

As for the MFI Bill, it seeks to empower the Reserve Bank of India to regulate the micro-finance industry and fix interest rates ceiling on loans to be provided by lenders.

Cabinet okays 30% cut in spectrum reserve price for 4 circles

The Cabinet today approved a 30 per cent cut in the reserve price for sale of mobile phone spectrum in four zones that went unsold in the recent damp-squib auction.

Airwaves in Delhi, Mumbai, Karnataka and Rajasthan found no takers in last months auction as bidders found the prices too high.

Subsequently, a ministerial panel recommended a 30 per cent cut in the base or reserve price for spectrum in 1,800 mega-Hertz (MHz) band in the four circles.

The Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, accepted the EGoM recommendation and approved auction of airwaves in the four zones at 30 per cent lower price, one of the participants said.

The reserve price for last month's sale per block in Delhi was Rs 693.06 crore, while the same for Mumbai, Karnataka and Rajasthan was fixed at Rs 678.45 crore, Rs 330.12 crore and Rs 67.08 crore respectively.

The Cabinet also gave its go ahead for auctioning spectrum in 900 MHz band in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata simultaneously with the sale of radiowaves in 1800 Mhz in these four circles.

Reacting to the development, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said there needs to be transparency in how the reserve price is arrived at.

"Participating is not the problem. All our operators by and large especially when 900MHz is involved will be interested. The question is what is the right price, "COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews said.

The last 2G mobile phone spectrum auction was virtually a flop as government managed to garner bids worth just Rs 9,407 crore as against a minimum target of Rs 28,000 crore.

Compared to the 3G auction, which lasted 35 days and got Rs 67,719 crore, the last round of 2G spectrum auction held in November lasted just two days.

Banks to remain stressed next year too: Fitch

Maintaining negative outlook on the country's banking sector, Fitch Ratings today said gross bad assets of domestic banks could reach 4.2 per cent of advances this fiscal and the asset quality could remain stressed over the next year.

"There is a risk that our initial gross NPA ratio forecast of 3.75 per cent could rise to 4.2 per cent this fiscal due to a more protracted downturn, the impact of which should be felt over the next three-four quarters," Fitch said in a report.

"The stress is not yet completely visible in the reported NPAs, but is clear in the performing restructured loans," it added.

On the negative outlook for the sector, Fitch said it is closely aligned with those of the sovereign, and could be affected by any change in the sovereign rating/outlook.

On Monday, the world's largest rating agency S&P warned of a one-in-three chance of a sovereign downgrade within the next 24 months, citing bloated government finances and poor chances of an improvement in revenue generation and thus narrowing the fiscal gap, which is projected to touch 5.5 per cent this year.

Fitch also said that it believes the slowdown would be more protracted than previously envisaged, compounded by global economic weakness and domestic concerns such as a weak fiscal position and persistent inflation. It further noted that the Q2 GDP numbers are at their lowest in seven years.

About the banking system worries, it said the rising risks come primarily from concentrated exposure of banks to the infrastructure sector which could prove to be a long term challenge if structural bottlenecks are not cleared swiftly.

"The risk of asset quality deterioration is higher for medium-sized banks and is weakening their credit profiles," said the report.

The restructured assets problem is also partly cyclical, which should be largely alleviated by an economic recovery, as in previous years. However, Fitch believes that the level of slippages from restructured assets could be higher as the level of stress is higher this time around.

On the flurry of reform measures in the recent months, it said though these steps may provide the much-needed boost to investor sentiment, timely implementation is critical to put the economy back on a recovery path.

On the positive side, the report notes that the core capital of the banks is largely protected.

"The government's commitment to a minimum 8 per cent Tier 1 capital for its banks underpins the capital position of the overall banking system. The capital of most large banks is well protected, as profit and general reserves should absorb stressed credit costs," the report said.

Government notifies new drug pricing policy

The government on Thursday said the new drug policy which aims at bringing more medicines under price control has been notified.

"The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Policy (NPPP-2012) approved by the Cabinet on November 22, 2012 has been notified on December 7, 2012," Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Srikant Kumar Jena said in a written reply in Lok Sabha.

"Based on the same a new DPCO (Drugs Price Control Order) shall be prepared, notified," he added.

Price control over drugs was first introduced in the country in the aftermath of the Chinese aggression by Drugs (Display of Prices) Order 1962 and the Drugs (Control of Prices) Order 1963.

The outgoing drug policy of 1994, which covers 74 bulk drugs, was implemented through Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO) 1995.

The NPPP-2012, which was cleared by the government last month, would bring 348 essential drugs under price control.

In another reply, Jena said the National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA) has requested the Department of Pharmaceuticals for amendment in 'form IV' of DPCO, 1995, "which will enable them to seek additional information from the importers of drugs than what is prescribed under DPCO, 1995."

CCEA approves urea investment policy

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Thursday approved a urea investment policy that is likely to incentivise fertiliser firms setting up new plants and expanding existing capacity.

India imports over 30% of urea requirement and the policy aims at reducing that. But, it is unlikely to have any impact on existing prices.

"The new urea investment policy has been cleared," sources said after the CCEA meeting in Delhi.

The policy, which aims to attract fresh investment of about Rs35,000 crore to increase domestic production by 8 million tonne, has been cleared as the 2008 urea investment policy failed to attract the much needed funds.

Under the new policy, the government will give 12-20% post-tax return on fresh capital infused by manufacturers for setting up of new plants as well as for expansion and the revamp of the existing ones.

To ensure this return, the government would cover the entire cost of the natural gas, which is main feedstock of urea and accounts 80% of the cost.

The government controls the urea sector and has fixed the MRP at Rs5,360 per tonne. The difference between the MRP and cost of production is given as subsidy to manufacturers.

For determining the cost of production of new plants to be set up after the policy comes into effect, the government has set a floor and ceiling price of urea based on the price of natural gas plus 12-20% equity returns.

The new investment policy was approved by the Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by the then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on February 24.

However, sources said the ministry made some changes in the draft policy after inter-ministerial consultation. It proposed covering entire cost of natural gas, while the GoM had favoured providing subsidy on gas price within the range of USD 6.5-14 mmBtu.

The country produces 22 million tonnes of urea, against the requirement of 32 million tonnes.

CREDAI urges MPs to consider real estate reforms

Real estate developers' association, CREDAI on Monday urged lawmakers to consider reforms in the real estate sector to boost growth.

In a letter to MPs, Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Association of India (CREDAI) national president Lalit Kumar Jain said: "Though the government is moving in right direction with bold reforms agenda, much more can be achieved without any controversy or incurring additional cost just by focusing on the housing sector."

He has also mentioned a 10-point action plan drawn up by Credai to rejuvenate the sector.

"This action plan will help the economy to grow at much faster rate since realty contributes to the growth of over 200 other industries. Real estate is highly capital and labour intensive which makes it the largest employer after agriculture," Jain said.

The association added that there are some shortcomings in the proposed Land Acquisition and Real Estate Regulatory Bills which are likely to be moved in the ongoing session of Parliament.

"The bills appears to be one-sided as they seek to punish errant developers while ignoring defaulting buyers and corrupt officials. (While provisions) in the Land Acquisition Bill may make housing costlier," the letter said.

Indian cos invest USD 2.31 billion overseas in November

Overseas direct investment by Indian companies rose by 13.6 per cent over the previous month to USD 2.31 billion in November, data from the Reserve Bank showed. Indian companies had invested USD 2.03 billion in October. A total of 430 deals were carried out by the Indian companies in November to carry out the outward foreign direct investment during the month, the RBI data showed.

Infosys Ltd , Videocon Oil Ventures, REI Agri and Bharti Airtel were among the major investors in terms of outward FDI. Infosys Ltd invested USD 207.14 million in its wholly owned subsidiary Lodestone Holding AG in Switzerland which is engaged in financial, insurance and real estate services. Videocon Oil Ventures invested USD 127 million in its wholly owned subsidiary Videocon Hydrocarbons Holdings in Cayman Islands. The company is into agriculture and mining business.

REI Agri invested USD 95.19 million in its wholly owned unit based in United Arab Emirates which is into manufacturing business. Bharti Airtel invested USD 80 million in its wholly owned unit Bharti Airtel International (Mauritius) which is engaged in transport, storage and communication services.

Govt brings quota bill in Rajya Sabha, Mayawati backs it

It was a day of high drama in Parliament as the quota bill was introduced and discussed in the Rajya Sabha amid loud protests and adjournments. Creating chaos in the House over the issue was the Samajwadi Party (SP), which went on to stage a walkout over the issue, even as Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati gave a strong push to the bill, seeking passage of the amendments.

During the proceeding of the House, MPs from the Samajwadi Party rushed to the well of the House, chanting slogans and demanding the withdrawal of the bill. Following this, there were noisy scenes in the Upper House of Parliament. The situation turned worse and the Speaker had to even evict one Samajwadi Party MP while the party stages a walkout as the bill was taken up for discussion.

However, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and BSP chief Mayawati pushed for the bill while addressing the House. Making a strong case for the bill, she said that according to data, people from the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) communities needed reservation in promotions in government services. It is being seen as a quid pro quo for Mayawati's support to the government on the vote on foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail in the Rajya Sabha.

Mayawati said, "We are in favour of promotion for backward classes. The amendment is applicable for just SC/ST section thus OBC cannot be included under it." The BSP chief further pointed that her party was never opposed to quota in promotion to those from the backward classes and was also in favour of giving reservation to people from the upper caste who are economically weak.

Speaking about the issue outside Parliament, Samajwadi Party MP Ram Gopal Yadav said that party would continue to protest as it wanted the bill to withdrawn. He alleged that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was working under the pressure of the BSP.

He said, "We will continue to protest, want this bill to be withdrawn. The government is acting under the pressure of the BSP...we will participate in the discussion and oppose the bill." The SP leader likened the situation inside the House to that of the epic Mahabharata where "everyone sat witnessing injustice".

While there was uproar in the Rajya Sabha over the quota bill, as many as 18 lakh government employees and officers went on a flash strike with immediate effect to protest against the introduction of it in Parliament. The emergency services were, however, exempted from the strike. Demonstrations were also planned across the state.

The voting on the quota bill is likely to take place in the Rajya Sabha on Monday. Referring to the voting, Congress leader Rajiv Shukla said, "It has been decided that we will pass the quota bill on Monday."

The CPM also supported the quota bill in Parliament asking the Samajwadi Party to not disrupt the House on the issue. The CPM said it supported constitutional amendments to this effect and suggested creation of "supernumerary post" to enable officers get their due.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to move two amendments to the bill.

Earlier on Thursday, moving the Constitution (117th Amendment) Bill, 2012, Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy said it was important in the backdrop of backwardness of the Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes and their inadequate representation in government jobs.

With an aim of garnering maximum support, government incorporated some crucial elements like 22 per cent cap on promotions for which consideration of Annual Confidential Report (ACR) will be crucial.

The bill, which is strongly opposed by Samajwadi Party, got conditional support from the BJP and clear cut backing from some other parties like the BSP, the CPI-M, the CPI, the Trinamool Congress and the JD(U). However, the Shiv Sena did not support the bill. Voting on the bill, which will require two-third support for its passage, is expected to take place on Monday.

Land bill highly anti-farmer, anti-industry: NAC

NC Saxena, member, National Advisory Council and Rajeev Talwar, executive director, DLF both discuss about the land acquisition bill and CCI which received cabinet's nod and the implication of the nod on industry, farmers and economy at large.
NC Saxena, member, National Advisory Council and Rajeev Talwar, executive director, DLF both discuss about the land acquisition bill and CCI which received cabinet's nod and the implication of the nod on industry, farmers and economy at large.  


Below is the edited transcript of his interview to CNBC-TV18.

Q: The land bill has finally received cabinet's go-ahead and the 80 percent consent norm stays. What is your view?

Saxena: The debate on the land acquisition bill has been rather ill informed because the bill is highly anti-farmer and anti-industry both. The bill is only pro- bureaucracy and pro-civil society.

It mean that, suppose if one want to acquire one acre of land under the present bill, it will take at least three years and signature of at least 200 people. So, therefore it will neither help the farmer nor it will help the industry. Industry will have to wait for three years before they can acquire land. There are no fast procedures. So, I am really disappointed with the bill.

The bill has created lot of jobs for civil society. They will be in many committees. Even for acquiring one acre of land there are many committees which have been created. So, they will be traveling all over, give all kinds of reports and bureaucracy would be very happy because so many people have to agree. There should have been much more delegation, much more faster disposal of cases that is not envisaged.

The bill is anti-farmer because the compensation has been limited to just twice the market value. There is no procedure for negotiations. Framers cannot ask for more. In fact the compensation should have been decided by calling the farmers, sitting with them and negotiating with them. That is not provided.

Q: What is you view on both the CCI which is likely to fast track large scale infrastructure projects and land bill. What does this mean for the economy?

Saxena: I welcome the decision on Cabinet Committee on Investment for three reasons. First, this is the constitutional position that if there is disagreement between various ministries, ministry of industry versus ministry of environment, it is for the cabinet to take a decision or cabinet committee to take a decision for the entire government.

Second, all projects will destroy and have some impact on environment. The ministry of environment has Rs 30000 crore lying in its coffers for a forestation which they have not been able to use. So, they should spend all the time and energy in ensuring that this Rs 30000 crore is spent and new trees come up and the environment is protected, a forestation takes place.

Third, it is seen that the decisions of the ministry of environment are very arbitrary, ad-hoc and delayed because they are not concerned with industrialization and economic growth. So, therefore they always take a very negative view. So, therefore it is very important that their reports are examined by another ministry and there is some kind of guideline which would be set after some time on what basis projects should be approved and there would be some cases where government will say no to projects where the damage to industry or the people is irreparable.

Q: Both land bill and Cabinet Committee on Investment has been cleared to fast track infrastructure projects. What is your view on both?

Talwar: The Cabinet Committee on Investment is a growth idea. In land bill one will have to study the details what has been cleared and what not. Whether distinction has been made between willing buyer, willing seller transactions or will everything come under the Land Acquisition Act and relief and rehabilitation bill.

Q: We understand everything will come under the Land Acquisition Act and you will require 80 percent consent. Private public partnership project will require 70 percent consent?

Talwar: I think you are little mistaken. We are not talking about public private partnership projects. We are talking about transactions under the Transfer of Property Act which have been traditionally allowed to be done at market prices, fair compensation between two private sector people. So, one has got to wait and see because if everything comes in the burden being imposed on the government would be so great that perhaps we will need a full new department of land acquisition in every district or every place in the country.

Q: What about the rehabilitation process and as NC Saxena, formerly with the NAC saying that he believes that every land transaction even if it involves the transaction of one acre of land will go into a three year window?

Talwar: I think what the government is taking on is a bit too much of work and that's not called for.

Q: In terms of the rehabilitation and cost of projects, the rehabilitation cost we don't know if they have been changed, but what was sent to cabinet was two times and five times as far as the rural markets were concerned, what will it mean in terms of cost escalation?

Talwar: In terms of cost one has to see how to arrive at the net present value of that. Who determines at what stage, at what value of land, what is the process that they will go through because after all vested interests could always play a part the moment you get to know a few months or a few years before what is going to happen in a particular state, in a particular act of land. May be one of the best businesses in the future would be to buy land and have it acquired. You could really multiply your money by that.
http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/economy/land-bill-highly-anti-farmer-anti-industry-nac_794937.html

Land acquisition in India

                                                                                       
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* This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. The specific problem is: the article is difficult to understand, lacks context and does not meet wiki's scholarship and reliable source guidelines. Please help improve this article if you can. (August 2012)

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Land Acquisition in India refers to the process of land acquisition by the central or state government of India for various infrastructure and economic growth initiatives. Several controversies have arisen with claims that land owners have not been adequatly compensated.
Land acquisition in India is currently practiced under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. Since 2011, the country has proposed and its parliament has been considering a new law, named Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill.[1]

Controversies

It has occurred in India since the era of Independence, with over 21.6 million people in the period of 1951-90.[2] They have been displaced with heavy scale projects like dams, canals, thermal plants, sanctuaries, industries and mining. These occurrences are further being categorized as 'development-related displacement'.
The process of Land Acquisition in India has proved out to be poor in regard to growth of the country. The amount reimbursed is fairly low with regard to the current index of prices prevailing in the economy. Furthermore, due to the poor Human Capital of the displaced people they fail to get jobs and are a victim of several problems.[citation needed]
The draft of the government's 'National Policy for Rehabilitation' states that a figure around 75% of the displaced people since 1951 are still awaiting rehabilitation.[3] However, it should be noted that displacement is only being considered with regard to 'Direct Displacement'. These rehabilitation policies do not cover fisher folk, landless laborers and artisans. On a rough account, almost one in ten Indian tribal's is a displaced person. Projects that comprise of dams have displaced close to a million adivasis. The stories of displaced dalits are even harsher to know. The 'Walter Fernandes of the Indian Social Institute' have made a remark that 40 per-cent displaced people are of tribal origins.[citation needed]
There have been a rising number of political and social protests against the acquisition of land by various industrialists. They have ranged from Bengal, Karnataka to Uttar Pradesh in the recent past. The acquisition of 997 acres of land by Tata motors in Bengal in order to set-up a factory for the cheapest car in India. Similarly, Sardar Sarovar Dam on the river Narmada which was later canceled by the World Bank. The Land Acquisition Act of 1984 allows the government to acquire private lands. It is the only legislation pertaining to Land acquisition which, though amended several times has failed to serve its purpose.
At present, the displaced people are only liable for a monetary compensation which is still quite minimal. Many that get displaced are from the poorest sections, the majority are tribal and fail to raise their voice against the mistreatment. Another important aspect has been the ignorance of stakeholders in the share of the property. This provides an added benefit to many entrepreneurs and promoters of the company.
Several journalist and media-persons have commented on the lack-of-will in regard to a strong bill by the government, for a county with a large democracy this a dark blot of Land acquisition on the promising record of India. The execution of the bill and the passing is not only the solution, it's proper implementation with the time-regard is the most desired object to be achieved. The issue concerning displacement proves an example of how law has to be consistent with socio-economic and political turmoil's.
Project State Displaced Population Tribal Percentage
Karjan Gujarat 11,600 100
Sardar Sarovar Gujarat 2,00,000 57.6
Maheshwar Madhya Pradesh 20,000 60
Bodhghat Madhya Pradesh 12,700 73.91
Icha Bihar 30,800 80
Chandil Bihar 37,600 87.92
Koel Karo Bihar 66,000 88
Mahi Bajaj Sajar Rajasthan 38,400 76.28
Polavaram Andhra Pradesh 1,50,000 52.90
Maithon & Panchet Bihar 93,874 56.46
Upper Indravati Orisa 18,500 89.20
Pong Himachal Pradesh 80,000 56.25
Ichampalli Andhra Pradesh 38,100 76.28
Tultuti Maharashtra 13,600 51.61
Daman Ganga Gujarat 8,700 48.70
Bhakra Himachal Pradesh 36,000 34.76
Masan Reservoir Bihar 3,700 31
Ukai Reservoir Gujarat 52,000 18.92

Issues

There are various issues that need to be monitored in effect to control the present day conflict pertaining to the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. The Land Acquisition Act, 1894 currently a has colonial flavor, and it needs to be adjusted with the present day rural-urban social issues of India. Some of the important issues have been portrayed below.[5] The major land acquisition and conflicts happen in the densely populated areas of the countryside where the education among the masses has been fairly low.

Legislative Changes

Main article: Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill
There requires a wide range of legislative changes, because the economic and social policies have changed since 1984. Thus the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 proves to be inadequate. There has been a emphasis on elaborating public policy in the present bill. Also, the assumption that the seller is willing to sell his land is often being regarded as inadequate. The monetary compensation being claimed by the land-owners have been fairly low, as the price-level for basic commodities have changed since 1984. There has been no provision for a compulsory Social Impact Assessment and lastly no recognition of indigenous rights.
Efforts are underway to introduce the new Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill A number of changes have been introduced in the draft bill, championed by the National Advisory Council and spearheaded by Jairam Ramesh's Rural Development Ministry, following consultations with a range of stakeholders. The bill will update the Land Acquisition Act of 1894, which has been shown up to be hopelessly out of tune with contemporary needs through a number of recent conflicts over land. Ramesh will meet Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal Chief Minister and head of United Progressive Alliance government's previous ally Trinamool Congress, on Saturday to continue talks over the Bill.

Monetary Compensation

Major Indian infrastructure projects such as the Yamuna Expressway have paid about INR 2800 crores (US$500 million) for land,[6] or over US$ 25,000 per acre between 2007 and 2009. For context purposes, this may be compared with land prices elsewhere in the world:
  • According to The Financial Times, in 2008, the farmland prices in France were Euro 6,000 per hectare ($2,430 per acre; IN Rs. 1,09,350 per acre).[7]
  • According to the United States Department of Agriculture, as of January 2010, the average farmland value in the United States was $2,140 per acre (IN Rs. 96,300 per acre). The farmland prices in the United States varied between different parts of the country, ranging between $480 per acre to $4,690 per acre.[8]
A 2010 report by the Government of India, on labor whose livelihood depends on agricultural land, claims[9] that, per 2009 data collected across all states in India, the all-India annual average daily wage rates in agricultural occupations ranged between IN Rs. 53 to 117 per day for men working in farms (US$ 354 to 780 per year), and between IN Rs. 41 to 72 per day for women working in farms (US$ 274 to 480 per year). This wage rate in rural India study included the following agricultural operations common in India: ploughing, sowing, weeding, transplanting, harvesting, winnowing, threshing, picking, herdsmen, tractor driver, unskilled help, mason, etc.
The compensation for the acquired land is based on the value of the agricultural land, however price increases have been ignored. The land value would increase many times, which the current buyer would not share the surplus value.[10] Secondly, if the prices are left for the market to determine, the small peasants could never influence the big corporate tycoons. It strictly creates the unfair price management leading to land acquisition in India.
The compensation provided to the farmers should characterized into two basic categories. A minimum amount in relation to the present market value should be paid to the person while a monthly pension should be paid from a trust where the company shares are vested. Further since the agricultural yield has a major contribution towards the agricultural laborers and sharecroppers, a part of compensation should be allocated in their favor. The state should further contribute towards some form of welfare payments.

Delayed Projects

These delayed projects due to mass-unrest have caused a damaging effect to the growth and development of companies and the economy as a whole. Earlier states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh had been an attractive place for investors, but the present day revolts have shown that land acquisition in some states pose problems.[11] It has often been found to badly effect the Stock Market and the investment decisions in the infrastructural base for the economy.

References


  1. ^ "THE LAND ACQUISITION, REHABILITATION AND RESETTLEMENT BILL, 2011 – FULL TEXT OF BILL". Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India.
  2. ^ Sainath, Palagummi (1996). Everybody loves a good drought. Penguin Books. pp. 470. ISBN 0-14-025984-8.
  3. ^ "NAC's seven-point test for land acquisition bill". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 10 June 2011.
  4. ^ Singh, Satyajit (1997). Taming the waters. Oxford University Press. pp. 284. ISBN 0-19-564051-9.
  5. ^ http://www.rfgindia.org/publications/LandAcquisition.pdf
  6. ^ Spent Rs 2800 cr on land acquisition for Yamuna Expressway: JP Associates
  7. ^ "European farmland hits record prices". The Financial Times.
  8. ^ "Land use, value and management: Agricultural Land Values". USDA Economic Research Service.
  9. ^ "WAGE RATES IN RURAL INDIA". Ministry of Labor and Employment, Government of India. 30 March 2010.
  10. ^ http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/pranab-bardhanvexed-issueland-acquisition/370959/
  11. ^ "Land acquisition problems delay major projects". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 23 June 2008.


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