GUWAHATI: The Assam government on Friday claimed the ordinance, approved by the Cabinet for the setting up of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), would be a huge game-changer and aid the ease of doing business in the state.
The statement comes amidst protests by some groups, political parties, and social media users who feared the ordinance was a threat to the land of the state’s indigenous population.
The government said the ordinance would not affect the land rights of indigenous people as protected by the Assam Agricultural Land (Regulation of Reclassifications and Transfer for Non-Agricultural Purpose) Act, 2015.
“This ordinance does not affect the restrictions on sale or transfer of agricultural land for non-agricultural purpose...It does not allow any person to buy or sell any agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes. The bar of agricultural land used or transferred for non-agricultural purposes as provided under the aforesaid Act shall remain as it is and this ordinance will not affect it at all. In other words, agricultural land will remain with the agriculturalists only,” an official statement said.
It said due to Covid-19 pandemic, the state’s economy had been adversely affected and the business environment was also very depressing. In such a situation, the ordinance will drive the domestic growth, attract investment, and accelerate industrial development in the state, the statement said.
It also said that the entrepreneurs would not be required most of the statutory permissions for the first three years to set up their industries.
“This initiative will empower the local entrepreneurs in tune with the vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister to be Vocal for Local to make Atmanirbhar Assam and Atmanirbhar Bharat,” the statement said.
The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) had on Thursday burnt symbolic copies of the ordinance across the state and accused the ruling BJP of betraying people.
“It’s a conspiracy hatched in the time of Covid-19. The government could have taken measures to augment farm economy but it rolled out the red carpet to industrialists who have the least regard for people, land, and ecology,” AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi had said.