which is aimed at speeding up infrastructure and industrial projects by giving farmers better compensation for selling their land, was passed in the lower house of parliament on Thursday.
It takes about 295 days to acquire or lease public land in India, more than twice the global average, Standard Chartered wrote in a research note on Friday that cited World Bank data. Getting private land takes 99 days, versus a global average of 61 days.
Despite New Delhi's best efforts to get infrastructure moving, the problem appears to be getting worse. The percentage of total projects delayed on account of land acquisition-related issues more than trebled to 11.3 percent as of March 2013 from six years ago, the note said.
"How can you run through these projects when land must be acquired before financial closure?" said a senior official at the Planning Commission, a powerful government advisory body that helps steer infrastructure policy, on the clearances. "You can't talk things up. Look at the rupee, it's shivering."
The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry was scathing about the bill, which will replace colonial-era legislation, saying that not only will land cost more, the process of acquiring it will be stretched by 4-5 years.
STOPPING THE ROT
The government's Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI), set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in January, was charged with stopping the rot by solving inter-departmental disputes and speeding up clearances, especially environment and fuel permits.
Among its successes, the committee ended a 14-year saga involving NTPC Ltd, the country's largest power producer, and Coal India Ltd, the world's biggest coal miner, over the construction of a 1,980 MW power project.
NTPC was initially granted permission to build the plant in Jharkhand, but then Coal India claimed the site after coal reserves were discovered underneath it. After years of dispute and the establishment of a