New Delhi: Commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Saturday that the government will consult all stakeholders to make the land acquisition law “an enabler, rather than a stifler".

Sitharaman said that the industry has been voicing concerns that the existing land acquisition Act makes it almost impossible for them to acquire land. “...If that is how difficult it is made for acquiring land, certainly we are, as a government, committed to see what best can be done because it cannot stifle the very reason for which it has been brought," the minister said. “There is work going on. I am sure the government will come up with something in consultation with all stakeholders on how this Act can be made an enabler rather than a stifler," Sitharaman said at an event here.

The land acquisition Bill, which was passed during the previous UPA regime with then opposition BJP supporting it, seeks to set a fair compensation for farm land being taken over for industrial projects. However, concerns have been raised from various quarters that the law has made land acquisition very difficult and was slowing projects. Some states have also come out openly against the law, saying it had adversely impacted the process of acquiring land for infrastructure projects.

The rural development ministry has already suggested a number of amendments to the Act that will water down provisions such as mandatory consent of at least 70% locals for acquiring land for PPP projects, and 80% for private projects. PTI