INDIAN ECONOMY- ISSUES RELATED TO LAND ACQUISITION

Date: January 19, 2015

Ordinace Land acquisition bill

What are the proposed amendments in the Right TO FAIR COMPENSATION AND TRANSPARENCY IN LAND ACQUISITION, REHABILITATION AND RESETTLEMENT ACT, 2013? Critically examine them with special reference to developmental needs and farmer's interest? (200 words)

ANSWER-

Land acquisition refers to the process by which government forcibly acquires private property for public purpose.The  LARR  Act 2013 replaced the colonial Land Acquisitions Act of 1894. The new law made acquisition conditional upon the consent of landowners, social impact assessment, and impact on environment and food security, besides providing for higher compensation and more humane rehabilitation and resettlement provisions.

Major  Proposed Amendments

1-The ordinance has taken the requirement of written consent from 70 per cent of landowners for PPP projects in the infrastructure and social infrastructure sectors.

2-Social impact assessment (SIA) )won’t be required for such PPP and rural infrastructure projects.

3-Modification in retrospective clause, which stipulates annulment of acquisition if compensation isn’t paid or possession isn’t taken.

4- Section 105 of the existing Act has been amended to include 13 statutes previously exempted from the rigors of payment of compensation. These Acts were listed in the Fourth Schedule of the existing Act.

Impact of ammendment-

The Ordinance does away with consent, social assessment and food security assessment in one swoop by creating five big exemptions. The exemptions on defence, industrial corridors, affordable housing, rural infrastructure, infrastructure and social infrastructure covers everything almost so a greedy builder, politician or bureaucrat not be able to include under these five categories? In case they wish to do acquisition for private purposes, they have also been helped by extending acquisition to any ‘Private Entity’ that includes proprietorship, partnership, NGO etc., besides a private company.

The ban on acquisition for private educational institutions and private hospitals has also been lifted this serves benefit to private entities

The Act of 1894 at least provided the affected landowners the right to object and be heard. Since the Ordinance bypasses the entire procedural requirements, now the landowners would not enjoy even this minimal safeguard.

The LARR 2013  had provided for compensation higher than the earlier colonial-era law, but much lower than the real value of the land post its land use. The Ordinance has not expressly reduced this package. But it has hurt the farmers indirectly. The removal of consent clause drastically reduces the bargaining power of landowners.

 The exact compensation package will be determined by state rules so its discretion of  state governments will decide the compensation package to the land owners.

The safeguards proposed in LARR will lead to unacceptable delays, for these have not been fully tested anywhere. Past experience shows that post acquisition delays in utilising the land are longer than the time taken to complete the acquisition process.