The Economic Survey on Thursday made a case for streamlining land acquisition and environmental clearance policy to encourage development of infrastructure projects and called for setting up of a 'National Forest Land Bank' in this regard.
Amid increasing problems faced in acquiring forest lands for commercial purposes, the Survey for 2010-11 tabled in Parliament said there should be parity in the compensation package paid. It said there was an 'urgent need to streamline land acquisition and environment clearance for infrastructure projects.'
he Survey called for bringing parity between the compensation package admissible under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 and that applicable to land acquisition under the National Highways Act, 1956.
It said a National Forest Land Bank would help in reducing approval time for forest clearance.
The reformist agenda of the Economic Survey comes close on the heels of the address of the President Pratibha Patil.
The President had earlier this week stressed on the needs to work on reform-friendly policies to attract increased overseas investment in the country, amid a decline in overseas inflows.
"We have to strive to make the domestic environment more conducive to investment, encouraging public as well as private investment and domestic as well as foreign investment, particularly foreign direct investment," Patil said in her address to Parliament.
The Survey also stressed on the need for encouraging increased investments in infrastructure and private sector participation.
"Need to explore avenues for increasing investment in infrastructure.
Public-private-partnership projects and occasionally exclusive private investment wherever possible," the Survey said.
As India plans to increase its infrastructure spending in the 12th Plan (2012-17) to $1 trillion, the Survey recommended, "huge capacity addition in infrastructure in a time- bound manner."
The Survey also stressed on an efficient taxation system by the proposed new tax regime under Goods and Services Tax.
It also called for better convergence among government schemes in order to avoid duplications and leakage and to ensure that benefits reach the targeted groups.
"Private sector participation in social sectors, such as health and education in the form of public-social-private partnership, could be one of the possible alternatives. . .," the Survey said.
It added that the government should give priority in developing rain-fed area besides effective marketing links for better returns to the farmers.
The Survey called for improvement in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, such as shifting to permanent asset building and infrastructure development activities to reduce transaction costs, better monitoring and extension of the scheme to urban areas.