NEW DELHI: The Modi government may not have been able to expedite amendments to the land acquisition or the Industrial Disputes Act, but BJPruled states are pushing ahead on this front. After Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra is moving to amend both laws as part of a drive to woo investments under its \'Make in Maharashtra\' campaign, which is a state-level adaptation of the PM\'s \'Make in India\' campaign. Nearly a fortnight ago, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis held separate meetings with top state officials and prominent industrialists, including Mukesh Ambani and Ajay Piramal, to discuss ways and means of boosting the state\'s manufacturing sector. The newly elected state government has subsequently decided to work around the strict provisions of UPA\'s 2013 land acquisition Act by proposing the Centre to include the state\'s own MIDC Act in the list of exempted laws under which land can be acquired for specific purposes. In case of MIDC, the acquisition will be for industrial purposes. At this stage, though, it remains unclear if the exemption can be brought into effect by a government notification or if the proposal would require an amendment to the original Act, which would have to be cleared by Parliament.
Officials who attended the meetings confirmed these plans. \"We are not against the formula of compensation to land owners decided by the present Act. But we have prepared our case saying that special Acts supersede the general Act; that is our interpretation. Thus, the special Act in this case the MIDC Act which came into effect in 1961 for orderly establishment of industrial districts to maintain the state\'s industrial balance should prevail,\" said MIDC CEO Bhushan Gagrani. Gagrani pointed out that this exemption was necessary because acquisition of land for industrial purposes even for setting up projects on land already under MIDC\'s control has been barred under the new land Act. Another official who attended the CM\'s meeting said a comprehensive review of labour legislation is also underway. The change will be along the lines of the amendments to the Industrial Disputes Act effected in Rajasthan. Among the notable changes, factories employing up to 300 workers can be closed without government permission, compared with the earlier floor of 100 employees. \"The proposal mooted first in 2001 for amending the Industrial Disputes Act has been revived.
In fact, a draft of the amendments had received approval from the government of India in 2001 and this will need clearance by the Cabinet and the assembly. Other law being reviewed is the Mathadi Act,\" said Industries Secretary Apurva Chandra. He acknowledged that the amendments in Rajasthan and MP are being considered as templates while working on the draft amendments to be presented to the Maharashtra assembly.