NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The Indian government has issued an executive order for the third time to make it easier to buy farmland for large projects after failing to win parliamentary for a controversial land bill championed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The ordinance was approved at a cabinet meeting on Saturday chaired by Modi. It will replace an existing ordinance that implemented the bill pending parliamentary approval, and needs the president’s signature to take effect.
“The land ordinance has been cleared again by the cabinet to maintain continuity and we will ensure that farmers don’t face hardship on compensation,” cabinet minister Ravishankar Prasad told reporters after the meeting.
Making it easier for investors to buy land has been a key focus of the Modi government’s reform efforts. He first passed a decree last December to ease land acquisition rules that require the consent of 80 percent landowners for a deal to happen.
Lawmakers in the upper house of the parliament, led by the opposition Congress party, have repeatedly blocked the bill which they say is anti-farmer. Modi’s nationalist government lacks a majority in the second chamber.
To build consensus over the bill, the government has introduced several amendments and formed a parliamentary committee to examine compensation clauses and resettlement of farmers.
Billions of dollars of investment in industrial projects across India are tied up due to conflicts between farmers and companies trying to buy land across India.
But farmers have criticized Modi’s government for eyeing their land at time when unseasonal rains have damaged the crops.
Reporting by Nigam Prusty; Writing by Rupam Jain Nair; Editing by Douglas Busvine