As much as 4.2 lakh hectares has been mapped across 3,275 industrial clusters in the country, of which about 1.13 lakh hectares is available for investors.
Investors sitting in the comfort of their couches can now zero in on land located in various states for potential projects, with commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal e-launching a first-of-its kind GIS-enabled national land bank portal on Thursday. As much as 4.2 lakh hectares has been mapped across 3,275 industrial clusters in the country, of which about 1.13 lakh hectares is available for investors, as the government looks to lure investors at a time when anti-China sentiments are growing globally.
Interestingly, investors will be able to not just locate the land but have access to a plethora of details – of logistics, land, rail & air connectivity, tax incentives, drainage system, power supply and even raw material (farm and industrial) availability — so that they can make informed decisions about the industrial belt.
For instance, the engineering and auto hub of Sanand in Gujarat, where 904 hectares is available, four 66/11 kilovolt (KV) substations are operational for power supply and another under planning. Another 400/220KV substation will be operational within the Sanand Estate in three months. State-run Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation will provide 13.5 kilo litres of water per day for each hectare allotted.
Similarly, 1,556 hectares is available at Dahej special economic zone in Gujarat. This SEZ also provides exemption from a 4.9% stamp duty and the registration fee is just 1%.
In the auto and electronics hub of EPIP-Ganjimutta in Karnataka, the rate of land lease/rent is only `50-55 per sq metre a year. As much as 6,057 hectares is available for investors here, according to details shown in a dashboard put in place by the department for the promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT).
At 32,805 hectares, Gujarat leads the pack of states in land availability, followed by Odisha (21,451 hectares), Tamil Nadu (12,200 hectares), Karnataka (10,116 hectares) and Maharashtra (9,671 hectares).
To start with, extensive information about industrial belts in six states is available on the portal. Goyal expressed confidence that all states will be on board by December. Nevertheless, broad details of land availability across 31 states and Union territories are also part of the portal now.
Goyal said the portal is a prototype only and will be developed further with inputs from states, to make it a more effective as well as transparent mechanism for land identification and procurement.
Inordinate delay in land acquisition has been one of the biggest obstacles in India’s bid to emerge as a major industrial nation, with several foreign companies, including Posco and Saudi Aramco, facing the brunt of a myriad of rules and regulations. Land acquisition has also resulted in large-scale protests against an SEZ in Nandigram, a Tata Motors plant in Singur (both are in West Bengal) and Vedanta’s bauxite mining proposal in Odisha’s Niyamgiri.
Since land ownerships in vast swathes of India are fragmented and disorganised, direct acquisition remains a critical challenge, more so for private companies. The land bank becomes a key initiative of the government, as it intends to undertake structural reforms in factors of production to enable greater manufacturing and reverse a Covid-induced slide in growth.
Already, the department is working on a “genuine” single window clearance system for investors and drastically pruning the need for a maze of licences for investors to set up units. Already, a status check ordered by a committee of secretaries (CoS) revealed that the 35 central ministries/departments among them are presiding over a regime of as many as 767 pre-establishment/pre-operation licences!