Some fundamental concerns of industry remain unresolved in the Bill. The State needs to have a facilitating role in land acquisition
It is a mathematical certainty that if the per capita income of the nation has to increase, persons employed at lower income levels must partially progress in favour of higher ones and, indeed, new additions to the workforce must find jobs with higher pay levels. As a natural corollary, the number of people employed in agriculture must shrink while production and productivity must go up.
In order to capitalise on our demographic dividend, the government has set a target of creating 100 million jobs in manufacturing in the next 10-15 years. Achievement of goals under the very desirable National Manufacturing Policy is one vital cog in the path to national progress. India cannot afford to neglect manufacturing, be it for the youth which increasingly needs productive employment outside agriculture, or to meet supply-side requirements for our domestic economy, or to build a sustainable base for exports without which our foreign exchange earnings will remain elusive. With any of these delicate balances going wrong, we risk major social upheavals.
Availability of land for the industry is one of the significant challenges for expansion of industry and for new investments. Land is a valuable resource. Indian business recognises not only the need for a fair compensation to sellers of land and their dependants, but also that the sale of land is an emotive issue per se.
In my opinion and based on reports so far available, the consensus reached at the political level on the Land Bill may perhaps have discounted to a degree the above larger perspective of overall social and economic well-being. Some fundamental concerns of industry seemingly remain unresolved in the decision of the all-party meeting. I would also like to share thoughts on the new concept of ‘land lease’ which is likely to be introduced.
One understands that, perhaps, in addition to acquisition, land could also be leased to industry, thereby retaining ownership with land owners. Neither the Parliamentary Standing Committee nor the government have gone into consequential issues relating to