Odisha assembly’s recent legislative actions have stirred debate and controversy as they passed several bills, most notably the Land Acquisition and Resettlement Bill, 2023. This bill, which initially faced criticism and was withdrawn, has now been reintroduced to enable the government to exempt strategic and development projects from social impact assessments, a move seen as a means to expedite industrial development and attract private investments to the state through the Make-in-Odisha initiative. While proponents argue that it’s essential for economic growth, critics raise concerns about the potential consequences for landowners and communities.
The passage of this bill makes Odisha the fourth state to amend the central legislation, following Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Karnataka. These developments highlight the ongoing tension between economic development and the protection of land rights and social impact.