Around the time the Land Acquisition Bill was being debated and was being finally passed last week, an innocuous policy change was being planned for the national capital. The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) plans to allow a fifth of the land meant for industry to be used to create housing.
Powered by the usual justifications of being people-friendly, worker-friendly and so on, this change in land use will benefit the owners of industrial plots in populated areas around Okhla, Patparganj, Mayapuri and Naraina. Change in land use is the oldest trick in the game of wealth creation. The price of agricultural land will always be lower than that being used for industry, which in turn will be lower than land for real estate development. By changing the land use pattern of a particular plot, the government allows huge benefits to go to incumbents, making this little notification a breeding ground for mass corruption at a scale that can only be matched by greed.