Land acquisition: New portal to help industry, but govt must fix high registration-costs, green nod delays

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September 14, 2020 5:45 AM

The new portal to make land acquisition easier will help industry, but govt must fix high registration-costs, green nod delays, etc

The portal, a ministry release highlighted, has mapped out 4.2 lakh hectares of land across 31 states, of which 1.13 lakh hectares is readily available.

In 2009, India ranked 93 for property registration in the Ease of Doing Business; by 2020, the country had slipped further to 154. So, while it took less time and cost less to register a property in India in 2009, by 2020, both the cost and time had doubled. The problem is perhaps rooted in the difficulty in acquiring land.

Though the government hasn’t had much progress on easing land acquisition, it has now come out with a convenient way for businesses to acquire land. The commerce and industry ministry recently launched a website to facilitate land acquisition. The website will also provide details of nearest available raw material source, land- and air-transportation routes, etc.

The portal, a ministry release highlighted, has mapped out 4.2 lakh hectares of land across 31 states, of which 1.13 lakh hectares is readily available.

Apart from the problem of land availability, a big deterrent for investors is the fact that green nods and various other clearances take a lot of time. While the government has experimented with a single-window clearance system for environmental clearances and the commerce & industry minister recently talked about a single-window clearance system for all government permissions required, the fact is that obtaining green approval is a notoriously complicated process.

The government seems to be looking to ease the process with the draft Environmental Impact Assessment norms that have come under a cloud over allegations of favouring industry at grave costs to environment. For the land portal to be truly meaningful, the government needs to ensure that along with fixing high registration costs, the various approval processes are made easier.

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