The land, already acquired by the official agencies, is spread across 4,363 industrial parks, estates and special economic zones (SEZs) in 19 states and Union territories, according to a DPIIT presentation on August 23.
The department for the promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT) has facilitated the mapping of as much as 5.6 lakh hectares on the India Industrial Land Bank (IILB) portal. It provides a GIS-enabled database of industrial areas to enable investors, sitting at home, to choose land located in various states to set up projects.
The land, already acquired by the official agencies, is spread across 4,363 industrial parks, estates and special economic zones (SEZs) in 19 states and Union territories, according to a DPIIT presentation on August 23. The department now plans to integrate all states with the IILB portal by December 2021.
While the Modi government’s attempts to tweak land acquisition rules through an ordinance in 2014 were mired in political slugfest, the move to set up the land bank will complement its efforts in recent years to shed rigidities in labour laws to boost manufacturing and lure foreign investors amid growing anti-China sentiments globally.
Through the IILB, 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 any industrial belt.
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, having faced the brunt of a myriad of rules and regulations. Land acquisition in the past 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, therefore, becomes a key initiative of the government, as it intends to undertake structural reforms in factors of production to reverse a Covid-induced slump in growth.
Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal, who had launched the land bank portal a year ago, had said it would be continuously developed, with inputs from states, to make it a more effective for land identification and procurement.