India Inc hopes CCI works, land Bill clears House

Dec 15 2012, 01:24 IST
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SummaryWith the Cabinet on Thursday clearing the proposal for constituting a Cabinet Committee on Investment to fast-track large infrastructure projects along with the Land Acquisition Bill, India Inc is hopeful that the government would give the required push to make the first work effectively and ensure that the second doesn’t face roadblocks in Parliament.

not clear where public purpose will fall in,” he said.

Rahul Bajaj, chairman, Bajaj Auto, expressed optimism. “I have not seen the details of the announcement. I only hope that this committee will take a decision if required by overruling individual ministry and not just coordinate between ministries. Hope the recommendations of the Cabinet Committee on Investment will be accepted by the Cabinet,” he said.

RC Bhargava, chairman of Maruti Suzuki India, offered a nuanced view. “It is the laws which needs to be looked at. If the laws state that such and such clearances are required before according a final approval to a project, whether it it is NIB (the National Investment Board, as the CCI was proposed to be called) or CCI, it can’t do a thing. If the intent is to change the law, that can be done whether it is NIB or CCI,” he said.

On the Land Bill also, Bhargava had a practical point. “The industry can argue that one would need to take approvals from more people now, but the increase of mandatory consent from 67% to 80% is not really a make-or-break issue. The idea is to ensure that one person shouldn’t hold up an investment asking a much higher price, and in such cases the government should intervene. The basic purpose of the Bill is that you buy land through private negotiations, but afterwards it should not be caught in litigation. While buying land you should know the price, because if the court decides to increase it later to compensate farmers, the investments may get unviable.”

Venu Srinivasan, chairman and managing director of TVS Motor, is hopeful on CCI but critical of the Land Bill. “It (CCI) is a very positive move and will give a major fillip to infrastructure. I don’t think it has been watered down much. With the PM pushing this, no ministry can delay things beyond a point. It will eventually help speed up things,” he told FE. However, Srinivasan did not exude the same optimism regarding the Land Bill. "It would make things a little difficult for large projects like auto and power plants as in India land holdings are already very fragmented. The government is doing a balancing act from a social equity point of view,” he said.

Adi Godrej, chairman of the Godrej Group, said the key lies in execution. “It’s a very good move. Many investment projects are now

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