In this Friday, May 16, 2014 file photo, Narendra Modi greets the gathering at the home of his 90-year-old mother in Gandhinagar, in the western Indian state of Gujarat.
Saurabh Das—AP
By Rishi Iyengar
December 30, 2014

Prime Minister Narendra Modi rushed out three ordinances in a day on Monday, as part of his attempt to galvanize desperately needed reforms to the Indian economy. The blitz follows two ordinances last week.

The most important of Monday’s ordinances — a legislative tool akin to an executive order — called for a relaxing of land acquisition rules in several key sectors, in an attempt to remove regulatory barriers to projects worth nearly $300 billion.

“The priority of the government was to bring a balance between the interests of the farmers and the development needs of the society,” said finance minister Arun Jaitley, speaking to reporters.

The ordinance will apply to projects related to defense, rural electrification, affordable housing and industrial corridors, Reuters reports. Under the new rules, initiators of such projects no longer need to seek consent from 80 percent of the people displaced by the work, as they were required to do by the previous administration. The requirement for a social impact assessment before a project begins has also been done away with.

The other two ordinances issued late Monday included changes to arbitration and conciliation laws, and one that merges the status of Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizen of India (OCI), thereby making it easier for members of the Indian diaspora to get lifelong visas.

The two ordinances issued last week were aimed at increasing foreign investment in the insurance sector and allowing private sector involvement in coal mining.

All the ordinances still need to be approved by the Indian parliament during its next session, which begins in February, in order for them to take effect.

Modi’s recent push for reform is being met with resistance from the opposition in the upper house of parliament, where, unlike in the lower house, his Bharatiya Janata Party does not have a majority. The coal ordinance, for instance, was not ratified when it was initially proposed in November, prompting Modi to re-issue it last week.

Write to Rishi Iyengar at rishi.iyengar@timeasia.com.

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