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Land Acquisition Bill: Discuss the Pros

and Cons.
Land acquisition in India is currently governed by The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in
Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, which came into force from 1 January 2014.
Till 2013, land acquisition in India was governed by Land Acquisition Act of 1894 i.e The bill replaces the
British-era Land Acquisition Act of 1894 and provides for land acquisition as well as rehabilitation and
resettlement.

Land acquisition refers to the process where a government acquires land from land owners for any
purpose. Generally, the purpose is related to development projects conducted either by PSUs (Public
Sector units) or the private sector prior to the passage of this Bill

Pros and Cons of the bill with reference to recent debates:


Pros:

1. The existing Act kept 13 most frequently used acts for Land Acquisition for Central Government
Projects out of the purview. These acts are applicable for national highways, metro rail, atomic
energy projects, electricity related projects, etc. The present amendments bring all those exempted
from the 13 acts under the purview of this Act for the purpose of compensation, rehabilitation and
resettlement. Therefore, the amendment benefits farmers and affected families.

2. The proposed changes in the Land Acquisition Act would allow a fast track process for defense
and defense production, rural infrastructure including electrification, affordable housing, industrial
corridors and infrastructure projects including projects taken up under Public Private Partnership
mode where ownership of the land continues to be vested with the government.

3. As per the changes brought in the Ordinance, multi-crop irrigated land can also be acquired for
purposes like national security, defense, rural infrastructure including electrification, industrial
corridors and building social infrastructure.

Cons:

1. The original Land Acquisition Act, 2013 had a consent clause for acquiring land industrial
corridors, Public Private Partnership projects, rural infrastructure, affordable housing and defense.
But after the central government changed, it exempted these five categories from the rule of
acquitting land in the Bill tabled on February 24.

2. Social assessment which was mandatory before acquitting land has also been exempted in the Bill
tabled in the Lok Sabha.

3. As per the existing law, land will be given back to the farmer if it remains unused for five years. The
proposed amendment says the land will be returned only if the specified project on the land fails to
complete the deadline.
4. Bureaucrats will be punished if found guilty of violating any clause of the existing Land Act.
However, the new clause makes government sanction necessary to prosecute civil servants.

The Land Acquisition Amendment Act, 2015 is currently creating a lot of hassle in Parliament with the Lok
Sabha session being adjourned for the same on February 24. With both opposition and ruling parties
equally holding their leashes tight on the Land Bill, only time will tell if the amendments in the Land
Acquisition Act will be passed or not and whether they will be truly beneficial.

The main benefit of the Land Acquisition bill is that it ensures equity and fair dealing with farmers. Clear
guidelines on the process of acquiring land and rules for compensation packages will ensure that the
process of land acquisition is clear. However, the bill has negative consequences for industry. First, market
prices of land have already been rising. By providing a compensation package that is a multiple of the
current market price, the bill can raise the cost of land acquisition significantly, increasing the overall cost of
a project. In some cases, this could make the overall project unviable and hurt apex. Second, rising land
costs will have an overall inflationary impact on the economy. Third, the bill will elongate the process of land
acquisition.

Overall, the challenge with the land bill is to balance the benefit to farmers with the cost to industry.
However, if companies defer their apex plans due to the steep rise in land costs, then transactions may fall
and the supposed gains to farmers may be minimal. From a macro perspective, the Land Bill is a negative
for the private sector, as it increases land costs significantly and extends the acquisition process.

Here are positive and negative clauses of the new Land Acquisition
Amendment Bill:
Pros:
1- The existing Act kept 13 most frequently used acts for Land Acquisition for Central
Government Projects out of the purview. These acts are applicable for national
highways, metro rail, atomic energy projects, electricity related projects, etc. The
present amendments bring all those exempted from the 13 acts under the purview of
this Act for the purpose of compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement. Therefore,
the amendment benefits farmers and affected families.
2- The proposed changes in the Land Acquisition Act would allow a fast track
process for defence and defence production, rural infrastructure including
electrification, affordable housing, industrial corridors and infrastructure projects
including projects taken up under Public Private Partnership mode where ownership
of the land continues to be vested with the government.
3- As per the changes brought in the Ordinance, multi-crop irrigated land can also be
acquired for purposes like national security, defence, rural infrastructure including
electrification, industrial corridors and building social infrastructure.

Cons:
1- The original Land Acquisition Act, 2013 had a consent clause for acquiring land
industrial corridors, Public Private Partnership projects, rural infrastructure,
affordable housing and defence. But after the central government changed, it
exempted these five categories from the rule of acquitting land in the Bill tabled on
February 24.
2- Social assessment which was mandatory before acquitting land has also been
exempted in the Bill tabled in the Lok Sabha.
3- As per the existing law, land will be given back to the farmer if it remains unused
for five years. The proposed amendment says the land will be returned only if the
specified project on the land fails to complete the deadline.
4- Bureaucrats will be punished if found guilty of violating any clause of the existing
Land Act. However, the new clause makes government sanction necessary to
prosecute civil servants.
The Land Acquisition Amendment Act, 2015 is currently creating a lot of hassle in
Parliament with the Lok Sabha session being adjourned for the same on February
24. With both opposition and ruling parties equally holding their leashes tight on the
Land Bill, only time will tell if the amendments in the Land Acquisition Act will be
passed or not and whether they will be truly beneficial.
Basics & Context:

Land acquisition refers to the process where a government acquires land from land owners for any
purpose. Generally, the purpose is related to development projects conducted either by PSUs (Public
Sector units) or the private sector.

Prior to the passage of this Bill (and it is yet to become an Act), we had the Land Acquisition Act of
1894 which was imposed in India since the time of British rule. Under this Act, the government could
acquire any land as it wishes to, in the name of "public purpose". The British had never defined the
words "public purpose" in a straightforward manner, which meant that in theory as well as in practice,
a government could acquire land for any purpose they wanted, and term their purpose "public
purpose".

After independence, this practice continued whereby Indian governments, both at the central and at
the state level, acquired large amounts of land for various kinds of development and infrastructure
projects, such as roads, highways, ports (air and sea), power projects (thermal, hydro and nuclear) etc.
During 1947 till 1991, most of these acquisitions had been done by agencies or units in the public
sector. After 1991, when liberalization had taken place, most of the land acquisition was done by the
government to provide land for the private sector, either for private sector projects (infrastructure
projects like power, roads etc.) but also for housing projects.

There were many issues raised against such land acquisition:

a) No one, be it the land owners whose land was acquired (mostly farmers), nor those who may not
have owned the land but whose occupations were dependent on the land acquired (mostly agricultural
laborers), were compensated monetarily or otherwise as per this Act. No attempt was made for the
rehabilitation or resettlement of those who had been affected by such land acquisition either.

b) There was no requirement of any prior consent of the affected parties (those who will lose their land
and/or their occupation or be affected by the pollution or environmental impacts of these
infrastructure projects in future as they live nearby) for constructing any of these projects.

c) Also, land could be acquired with just a notice by the Collector within a very short time frame where
people who would be affected neither had a chance necessarily to challenge the acquisition legally, nor
had a chance to find some alternate occupation or arrangements for their own. The government could
acquire land in a manner it thinks fit.
d) Most of the land was acquired in the name of India's development, but the local people found very
little stake or benefits in the project. Not only were they not given much compensation or
rehabilitated, they also did not get employment opportunities (which in many cases were promised to
them) in the name of development of the area. In many cases, educated people from outside were able
to get these jobs, while the local people did not get any kind of benefit. Once liberalization came in,
companies which used to spend on health and education in the name of Corporate Social
Responsibility (CSR) outside the areas affected by their projects, were not willing to spend on health
and education of those affected by their own projects the same money. Many of them refused to take
consideration of the externalities like pollution imposed by their own projects, while the local people
also did not receive any training in many cases to be fit to be employed in these development projects
as well, either by the government or the project-owner (be it private or public).

There were huge protests on account of these issues, where people decided to squat illegally on
government land because they had been displaced by development projects but were not rehabilitated,
resettled and/or adequately compensated in any manner. In some cases like those displaced by the
Hirakud dam project, there was no rehabilitation or compensation given of any sort whatsoever to
these people.

On account of protests over the years against many such development projects, be it the protests
against Tehri Dam, those against Sardar Sarovar dam, those against Singur or Nandigram, and many
others which failed in preventing land acquisition, there were growing demands from not just the
activists, but also to an extent from the corporates for a transparent and accountable land acquisition
process so that while the people could get adequate compensation and would be suitably rehabilitated,
corporates do not have to face delays on account of protests against land acquisition.

And it is in this context that the Land Acquisition Act (2011) was introduced, and finally passed
yesterday in the Lok Sabha on 29th August 2013. Now let us analyse the highlights of the bill and also
see if these have pros and cons attached to them,

Features/Highlights of the Bill:

1) When the act applies:

Cons:

The first problem here is with the fact that this act will apply only when a private project developer
acquires or purchases land more than 100 acres in rural areas or 50 acres in urban areas through a
private negotiation with the landowner, or when a private project developer asks the government to
acquire land on his/her/their behalf. So if a private project developer wants to escape this
clause, he/she will take land in multiple parcels instead of one-time acquisition, which
helps him or her escape the application of this Act.

The other big joke is that if land has been acquired under sixteen previous acts, this act will not apply.
These include SEZ Act (2005), Atomic Energy Act, Cantonments Act, Damodar Valley Corporation
Act, Land Acquisition (Mines) Act, National Highways Act, Electricity Act and many others. This list is
under 4th Schedule of this bill, and other acts can be added to this bill with just a Central govt.
notification. If the intention was to ensure that acquisitions in the name of Special
Economic Zones, electricity projects or mining projects should be safeguarded from the
impact of this bill, what is the use of such a limited Act?

2) Requirement of consent:
In the original Land Acquisition Act (1894), there was no requirement of any consent from the
original landowner in acquiring his/her land. But as per this bill, consent of 70% of the landowners is
required prior to acquiring land for a "public-private partnership" project, while consent of 80% of the
landowners is required prior to acquiring land for a "private" project. Land can be acquired for "public
purpose" only, where public purpose refers to a number of development projects: mining,
infrastructure, defence, roads, railways, ports etc.

Pros: This is an improvement upon the original act, since if the majority of the
landowners do not agree to the project to be established on their land, a majority of
them can unite and oppose the project by not giving their consent.Hence, a major demand
of the protesters has been met to a certain extent. The other big achievement is that the
definition of "public purpose" is much more clearer and is related to development
unlike in the past, where the government could acquire land on any pretext while
terming it "public purpose".

Cons: There are some major lacunae even in the kind of provisions put up. For one, a large amount of
land is acquired even today by public sector units like NTPC, BHEL or others. Yet, no public
consent is required by public sector units in acquiring land, be it for mining, for power
projects, for highway building or for any other purpose. This is still a failure of this act and the
demand of those protesting against the previous act has still not been met in totality.

3) Adequate notice period for acquisition of land

Pros:

Under the Land Acquisition Act (1894), an "Urgency Clause" could be used to acquire land overnight
without any basis. However, a proper procedure is designed under this bill for both the procedure of
acquisition of land and of awarding compensation and rehabilitation and resettlement award by an
authority as designated by the government under the bill.

4) Compensation for those affected by land acquisition:

As per the Land Acquisition Act (1894), nobody affected by the land acquisition process, be they the
landowners or those whose occupations were dependent on the land originally or even those whose
lives or livelihoods were to be affected by the project for which land is acquired in future for a variety
of reasons (such as land, water and/or air pollution) would be compensated. This bill provides a
monetary compensation of up to four times the market value in rural areas, and up to two times the
market value in urban areas for farmers/landowners. Compensation is also to be provided for the
market price of the buildings standing on the land, and also a solatium amount is to be provided to
farmers in case they are losing standing crops on account of the acquisition process.

The bill also makes an attempt at providing non-monetary compensation such as land-for-land for
many cases, such as for a landowner when his/her land is acquired for an irrigation project, those who
are SC/ST landowners and who lose land due to land acquisition for any project, and those whose
lands are taken away for the process of urbanization (20% of their land acquired, at a price
commensurate with price of acquisition + price of developing the land). Landowners avail of these
provided they are ready to forego a part of their compensation amount in lieu of these facilities.

The bill allows for land to be not only acquired but if required, leased by the landowner so that the
landowner can continue to retain ownership while earning money from the project developer, such as
in case of renewable energy projects.

Pros: Again, there is an improvement upon the original act which did not provide any
kind of compensation (monetary/non-monetary) to those affected by the land
acquisition process. This bill makes a start, compensating those who will be affected by
land acquisition prior to the setting up of the infrastructure or development project,
monetarily and in some cases, non-monetarily. The bill also provides land-for-land
compensation in certain cases. Also, the clause of lease means that the landowner at least need not
lose land ownership, although others may lose their livelihoods in the process and have to be
adequately compensated and rehabilitated.

Cons: The bill has been criticized mainly on two accounts.

First, there is a huge debate on account of whether such compensation amount would
be enough or not. Activists argue that prior to the coming up of a development project, the market
price is quite low particularly in rural areas or semi-urban areas, and so the compensation amount (up
to 4 times the market price) may be too little for a landowner/farmer who is losing his/her livelihood
in a big way. Corporates argue on the other hand that this compensation amount is too high
particularly in urban areas where the prices may already be very high. They also state that once it is
announced that a development project is going to be constructed in a particular place, the market
price of that land increases significantly for any area (rural/urban) and so, the compensation amount
would be too high to provide for a private producer or the government. Activists however reject this
argument by stating that it would be a little share of the overall investment in the project and so would
not affect the project budget significantly. Still, a compensation of up to only 4 times the
market price seems low, and many Member of Parliaments suggested that this should
be increased to at least 5 to 20 times the market price in at least rural areas if not
urban.

Second, those who would be affected after the establishment of the project, they have
not been considered at all in the bill although one could say that this was not the primary
purpose of the bill, and second, one could address these through proper implementation and
enforcement of the environment regulations for air and water (if not for land). There are issues with
those norms though, but for once, this is a secondary problem with the bill itself.

There are other issues however, such as that compensation should not be
denied/reduced even if land-for-land is provided, and that those who are losing their
livelihood because of land acquisition should also be given monetary compensation.
These are major issues which remain unaddressed in this version of the bill. Also,
concerns were expressed by a few MPs, notably the Leader of Opposition Sushma
Swaraj in the Lok Sabha, that many landowners who become rich overnight on getting
compensation money do not understand what to do with this excess money and use it to
buy cars and vehicles rather than invest it in some productive activity. That concern
also remains.

5) Rehabilitation and Resettlement:

Pros:

Under the Land Acquisition Act (1894), again no provision was there for rehabilitating
or resettlement of those who would be losing their ownership of land or livelihoods
associated with the land acquired for any project. But under this bill, a number of
provisions have been made for rehabilitation and resettlement of all those affected by
land acquisition in any manner (loss of ownership and/or loss of livelihoods):

a) A housing arrangement would be provided for those who either lose their homes built on the land
acquired or who have been living on the land but don't have a home for themselves. Moreover, those
not opting for the house would get a one-time financial assistance for constructing the home of Rs.
1,50,000/-.

b) In addition to land-for-land as compensation for landowners, those losing their land and/or their
livelihoods on account of land acquisition can ask for one of the following: employment of at least one
person within their family within the project coming up, a one-time monetary compensation of up to
Rs. 5,00,000/- or annuity of up to Rs. 20,000 per family per month for up to 20 years, indexed to
Consumer Price Index for Agricultural Workers (CPI-AW).

c) A monthly subsistence amount shall be granted to all those families displaced from the land
acquired. This amount would be up to Rs. 3,000/- per month for a year from the date on which the
Award is given. SC/ST families displaced from Scheduled Areas will receive Rs. 50,000/- for
subsistence.

d) Each affected family will receive a transport amount of up to Rs. 50,000/- one-time for transport of
all necessary things to the place of rehabilitation and resettlement. Also, those losing a cattle shop or
petty shop will be paid a minimum of Rs. 25,000/- per one such shop they lose.

e) Those whose land has been acquired against their wish and who belong to a family having artisans,
small trader or self-employed family and who are affected by land acquisitions, their families shall
receive a minimum of Rs. 25,000/- each as compensatory-cum-rehabilitation allowance.

f) A one-time "Resettlement Allowance" of Rs. 50,000/- will be granted.

g) Fishing rights would be allowed as per government notification for those whose fishing activities
would be affected by the construction of hydro power or irrigation projects.

h) Land allotted to those who have opted for it will be jointly registered in the name of husband and
wife and would be free from all encumbrances.

i) Special provisions have been made for SC/ST families whose land is appropriated
under this Act. A Development Plan will be formulated side-by-side with the acquisition process,
with the plan focusing on giving these families title rights to land to be given to them, a plan for
development of alternative fuel, fodder and non-timber forest produce on non-forest land on which
they will be settled. Moreover, in cases where the Gram Sabha under PESA (Schedule V) has
consented to land acquisition, all SC/ST affected families will be paid one-third of compensatory
amount in the first installment, and two-thirds after the land is acquired. Land given to these families
would be given as per government notification with a part to be given for free for their community
activities. Not to forget, if land acquisition is done on behalf of a Requiring body or if the SC/ST family
has to be rehabilitated outside their original district, then an additional 25% of the compensatory
amount shall be paid to such families as "Rehabilitation and Resettlement Allowance."

j) Finally, Reservation benefits shall continue to be enforced for such families and moreover, all
entitlements or acts enjoyed by them prior to land acquisition on their original owned land will
continue to be enjoyed by them after land acquisition when they are rehabilitated elsewhere, even if
the area they currently live in does not enjoy those rights, such as PESA (Schedule V).

These are of course, huge advantages, considering the kind of benefits which have been bestowed on
not just SC/ST families but in general on landowners and land-affected people. In addition, the
government has prepared a list of amenities which have to be provided and whose cost has to be borne
by the project developer, to those being resettled and rehabilitated: roads within the resettled villages
and an all-weather road link to the nearest pucca road, passages and easement rights for all the
resettled families be adequately arranged; Proper drainage as well as sanitation plans executed before
physical resettlement; one or more assured sources of safe drinking water for each family as per the
norms prescribed by the Government of India grazing land as per proportion acceptable in the State
and many more as mentioned in Schedule III of the Act.

In other words, a huge number of benefits are laid out to be enjoyed by those within this
Act.

Then are there any cons? Yes.

Cons:

First of all, there is no making of these provisions as mandatory, and the project
developer can say that he/she is not in a position to do so with reasons, the project
developer is not mandated really to provide these provisions.

Second, there is no clear idea of the timeline under which these facilities are to be
provided. For example, amendments were moved by various MPs that these facilities should be
made ready at least six months prior to actual land acquisition so that those who will be displaced or
affected can be sure if the amenities provided for them are adequate or not, and if not satisfied or if
having genuine grievances, can ask for a redressal of these prior to actual land acquisition. None of
those were accepted and added in the bill.

6) Social Impact Assessment:

Pros:

A major point in this bill is that on the lines of Environmental Impact Assessment done prior to
obtaining Environment Clearances from MoEF, this bill requires that a Social Impact Assessment be
done by an Expert Group appointed by the respective State government. The Expert Group can ask for
land acquisition not to be done provided it is satisfied that the project is not in public interest, the
costs outweigh the benefits or it does not serve the stated public purpose. The Expert Group has to
assess the impact of the project on various things such as grazing land, transport, housing, lives of
people, their occupations, their ownership, their economic conditions, physical infrastructure
(drainage, roads, water availability, sanitation etc.) and many other things.

A public hearing must also be held prior to the final SIA report formed, which should also include the
minutes of the hearing.

7) Acquisition of Multi-Cropped Land:

Pros:

Only in extreme circumstances, where multi-cropped land has to be acquired at any cost, only 5% of
the total multi-cropped land in the district can be acquired and not more. Otherwise, multi-cropped
land should not be acquired. This is done for the purpose of ensuring that food security needs are not
threatened. This is better compared to allowing multi-cropped land acquisition in any
case whatsoever.

State governments can set additional conditions or modify those set in this bill as per
their own requirement. My view would be different from the answers given here - I oppose the
Land Acquisition Ordinance, 2014. Please bear with me for this long answer.

My opposition to the ordinance stands on two grounds:


a) First, because it is an ordinance.

As per the Constitution, while the right to pass an ordinance exists in the hands of the Central
Government, the Supreme Court has stated, just as Dr. Ambedkar had stated when he was alive while
drafting the Constitution, that such a right should only be exercised in the case of an emergency. But
was this case an emergency?

The Central Government has basically used two reasons to justify its stand.

The first is that the emergency was because as per Section 105(3) of the Act passed in 2013, 13
categories of land acquisition (mentioned in Fourth Schedule of the Act) had been exempted from
compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement clauses, and that this had to be done within one year of
the notification of the act. Since the original act was notified by the President on 1st
January 2014, it was necessary to issue a notification in order to fructify this particular
section of the original act.

In my view, this is a bogus argument on two grounds.

The first is pretty simple - all that was required for this was not something passed by the
Parliament, but a mere gazette notification issued by the Central Government. It did not
even require an ordinance in the first place to begin with, let alone a bill to be introduced in the
Parliament.

The second is that the Land Acquisition ordinance covers aspects which are unrelated
to this particular section of the act. For example, the clauses with regard to exempting 5 more
categories of projects from social impact assessment, or the clauses which dilute the provision in the
original act that multi-cropped land must be acquired only as a last resort - are not things which had
to be included in such an ordinance in case this was the reason for passing the ordinance in
emergency.

The Central Government has then announced its second reason for the land acquisition business - the
economy, and hence the emergency measure was required. As per the Centre, this ordinance
was required because the act was hindering/halting economic growth by increasing the
cost of land acquisition and making it more difficult for private sector parties to
undertake investments which can rejuvenate the economy.

This argument of the Centre gets demolished on the simple ground that the nation is
not in a state of economic emergency where the government was forced to resort to the
ordinance route. There is nothing before us to suggest that this bill was the emergency measure
which will suddenly revive investment in India.

b) Second, the timing of the ordinance.

The original act was notified only on 1st January 2014 and it had not even been properly
implemented for 1 whole year - so there were no sample case studies to suggest that
land acquisition had become more difficult following the passage and notification of the
act. So when the Centre states that the original act had been impeding private sector and PPP
investments, it has no evidence before it to back its claim - for if such evidence existed, the
government would surely have provided it in the public domain to justify itself.

Without the act even being implemented in the first place, the party in government, which actually
welcomed the original act and some members of whom actually wanted even more stringent
provisions than those in the original act, have made a surprising U-turn on the issue. Rajnath Singh
wanted a complete social audit to the scheme, Sushma Swaraj had forced the government to resort to
acquiring multi-cropped land only as last resort, and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the
bill, headed by the current Speaker, Sumitra Mahajan, had insisted that there were loopholes in the
act provided to them which had to be plugged in.

Today, the BJP has gone against the advice of its very own members who are in Cabinet
or privileged positions - without stating what has changed in 1 year for them to change
their stand in public domain.

c) Third, my opposition to the text of the ordinance.

Let us look at the clauses diluted by the ordinance.

1) Consent clause

The original act had stated that any project would require the consent of at least 80% of land owners if
the land is acquired for private projects, and consent of at least 70% of land owners if acquired for PPP
projects. The government has announced in the ordinance that five new categories of projects are
exempted from the consent clause. These include:

i) Defence
ii) Rural infrastructure including rural electrification projects
iii) Affordable Housing
iv) Industrial Corridors
v) Infrastructure and Social Infrastructure projects, including Public Private Partnership (PPP)
projects where the Central Government owns the land

The original clause itself was inadequate since it excluded land acquired by public sector companies,
but at least covered the PPP and private sector projects, who constitute a substantial share in total
land acquired in India annually. However, this change in the ordinance has repealed the original act
totally - along with the thirteen acts mentioned in the original Act for which land acquisition does not
require public consent, these five categories add up to about 98% of total land acquired in India. In
other words, the original act has been nearly repealed or turned infructuous or useless through this
amendment as far as the consent clause is concerned.

Consent was an important feature of the original act since the point was that we had
been asking a wrong question till 2013 - whether development should take place or not.
After all, if development was for public benefit, shouldn't land being acquired for public
benefit be acquired through public consent - was the claim of supporters of the bill. This
was also in line with the spirit of democracy, where people would determine if they
wanted projects to be built up or not. In fact, a major problem with the previous Land
Acquisition Act of 1894 was that no consent of land owners or other dependents on the
land was required for acquisition of land.

By bringing the ordinance, the government literally repealed the democratic nature of
land acquisition as was sought to be established through public consent.

2) Social Impact Assessment

The Land Acquisition Act of 2013 had introduced the principle of 'Social Impact Assessment' or SIA,
which was about studying the impact of any project on the lives of those living on the concerned land.
The study was supposed to be finished in a period of within 6-7 months as per the act and the
assessment was to be presented in a public hearing involving those affected after this duration -
following which public comments were to be considered while taking the final decision on land
acquisition.

The ordinance though has turned this whole process meaningless since it has exempted
the above-mentioned five categories from the SIA process. SIA was important as it was
necessary to identify those who were to be impacted by the project - land-owners and other
dependents on land not just being acquired but also those living nearby who would be impacted by
pollution and other issues due to the project. As stated above, since the categories concerned would
cover a major share of land acquisition for various projects, this clause exemption would effectively
render the act meaningless as well.

3) Restrictions on multi-cropped land

When the original act was drafted, there were heated debates that land acquisition
should not impact the food security of the nation. Keeping this in mind, it was accepted
by both houses of the Parliament that multi-cropped land should be acquired only as a
last resort and only up to certain limit. Even this was not considered as appropriate by some
speakers in the Parliament while debating the bill - including those from BJP - Rajnath Singh, and
Vinay Katiyar.

However, the above-mentioned ordinance actually means that for the above-mentioned
five categories, no restrictions exist with regard to acquiring multi-cropped land. In
India, major controversies on land acquisition have often happened when such land was sought to be
acquired - be it Nandigram/Singur or Andhra Pradesh. Considering all this, to have allowed such land
to be acquired for these projects without having thought on the impact on national food security,
seems a contradiction when considered along with the stand the government has taken in WTO,
where it has asked for spending on food security and other agrarian subsidies to continue indefinitely
till the time a permanent solution has been found.

4) Acquisition for private hospitals and educational institutions

A major problem with the ordinance is also that unlike the original act which did not allow acquisition
of land for private hospitals and/or educational institutions, this ordinance actually allows such
acquisition by including these activities under the ambit of public purpose. This is totally ridiculous
for the same reason in both cases.

Most private educational institutions and hospitals in this country are either owned by corporates or
those belonging to political parties (sometimes both these are the same) - and it is not as if such
institutions actually implement reservation for local/poor students/patients as demanded legally by
the Right to Education or other laws as required in actual spirit. In particular, we see private colleges
these days as money-making bodies which only admit those from richer or better-off backgrounds
while not having great educational quality standards. The Delhi High Court has been running after the
hospitals in Delhi and has asked them repeatedly to admit the poor patients for free in return for the
subsidies they get from Central and state governments - without the hospitals having ever obeyed
these in practice. Even news channels have got tired of doing stings on this issue knowing well that
nothing changes.

Finally, I wish to incorporate some practical aspects which actually happen in this
country - which are not covered in this law.

In this country, we have lots of laws and notifications and rules which actually get flouted over the
long-term, also involving multiple litigations - leading to nothing. Take the idea of affordable housing
- a type of project exempted from consent and social impact assessment as also acquisition of multi-
cropped land. In Maharashtra, there are cases where initially, those constructing such houses agreed
that a certain percentage of houses would be given to poor for reduced rates or nearly-free - but when
it came to actual implementation, the result was zero. Following this, in such cases, cases were
imposed on such builders but they have been stuck and mired in our legal system through
adjournments and collusion of authorities and judges with such builders. Similarly, the word
"infrastructure and social infrastructure" is so loosely defined as the category to be exempted, that as
long as government acquires land first and then gives it to private parties at the rates it wants, it can
be used to justify any and every kind of acquisition - that is the kind of loophole which has been
created.

The only improvement left as it is in the current Act compared to the 1894 one (with the ordinance in
force) is that those whose land is acquired will be compensated, rehabilitated and resettled - but this
can and will be done without their consent or social impact assessment. This could have been
understood if we were an autocratic country like China - in a democracy though, the move is
questionable. A humane and ethical law has been dismantled without letting people decide on the
kind of development they wanted - it is the state which will now decide this.

Keeping all these things in mind, I think it was not an appropriate move to amend the
Act.

Land acquisition is the first and foremost activity for any development. To achieve the GDP growth rate in double digit,
manufacturing, urbanization (Sustainable Smart Cities) and infrastructure development is must. According to the World Bank
group, in ease of doing business India ranks 142. To make the process easy for Domestic as well as Foreign Investor, Modi
Government is doing their best. Land Acquisition is one of the hurdles to start any project in India.

In 2013, UPA Govt repealed the century old draconian Land Acquisition Act 1894 with " The Right to Fair Compensation and
Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 ". It made processes to acquire land so tough that
it was neither fruitful to land owners nor to Investors. So, Pro-development NDA Government has issued an ordinance in 2014
as both houses were not in session. Now Govt has put Land Acquisition Bill 2015 in parliament for approval.

Pros of the Bill:


As Social Impact Assessment has been removed for 5 sectors, acquisition time will be less. Project could be
established early and it will lead to early growth.

Cost of the Project could also be reduced as for SIA a lot of amount has to be spent.

The Bill has included 13 more acts of Land acquisition for which there was no fixed criteria to give compensation to
the Land owners. Now, people will get proper compensation for their Land.

The bill has taken the acquisition of land for private hospitals and private educational institutions within its ambit. So,
land owners will get proper compensation if their land will be acquired.

The LARR Act, 2013 states that the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 will continue to apply in certain cases, where an
award has been made under the 1894 Act. However, if such an award was made five years or more before the
enactment of the LARR Act, 2013, and the physical possession of land has not been taken or compensation has not
been paid, the LARR Act, 2013 will apply.

The Bill states that in calculating this time period, any period during which the proceedings of acquisition were held
up: (i) due to a stay order of a court, or (ii) a period specified in the award of a Tribunal for taking possession, or (iii)
any period where possession has been taken but the compensation is lying deposited in a court or any account, will
not be counted.

So, bill has removed the retrospective application. This is the good signal to the Investors.

Cons of the Bill:


The bill has expanded the sectors where assessment and consent will not be required. For 5 sectors, consent clause
has been removed. So the government or private individuals / companies will no longer need mandatory 80%
consent for land acquisition if it is acquired for national security, defence, rural infrastructure including electrification,
industrial corridors & housing for poor and 70% consent for Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects where the
central government owns the land. Heart of the LARR'2013 Act was the time bound Social Impact Assessment. By
this, feasibility of the project was to be established. Since SIA clause has been removed now. Project may get
delayed after acquiring the land if affected people are not willing to give their land. Govt will not be able to know
social and economic impact of the project.

The Bill has exempted the projects from the restrictions on the acquisition of irrigated multi-cropped land imposed by
the LARR'2013. In near future all countries will face food security problems owing to Global warming. So, proper use
of the land is must.

As the bill states that the unutilised land will need to be returned to the Land owners after 5 years or any period
specified at the time of setting up of the project against the 5 years period specified in the LARR'2013. Private entities
after acquiring the Land may specify arbitrary period to return the unutilised land. Taking the current scenario we can
see, much of the acquired land is left unutilised. So, by giving this flexibility to Investors, land utilisation will depend
on their good will.

To make the dream "Make in India" come true of our Honourable Prime minister Sh. Narendra Modi, some rationale changes in
the LARR, 2013 are indeed. Hampering of the project by agitation and protests after acquiring the Land gives bad image of
India with respect to ease of doing business, than delay in the project owing to SIA before acquiring the Land. With SIA, owners
will know the effects of the project. If it will be beneficial for them, they will give their land willingly. And if not, without their
assent, they may create agitation. So, it's better to assess the socioeconomic impact prior to acquiring the Land.

Read more: http://www.bankersadda.com/2015/05/land-acquisition-bill-discuss-pros-and.html#ixzz4LHWUtB5U

Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill,
2013 was recently passed by the Parliament. The Bill has provisions to provide fair compensation to those
whose land is acquired by public or private sector. There are advantages and disadvantages of the bill.

ADVANTAGES OF THE BILL


It brings transparency to the process of acquisition of land to set up factories or buildings, infrastructural
projects and assures rehabilitation of those affected.

This legislation will benefit both industry and those whose livelihood is dependent on land. It provides two
times more compensation in urban areas and four times more compensation in rural areas than the circle
price.

The circle rates are decided by the local government on the basis of average sale price for the last 3 years
or last 3 months whichever is higher.

The bill establishes regulations for land acquisition as a part of India's massive industrialization drive driven
by public-private partnership.

The bill will be central legislation in India for the rehabilitation and resettlement of families affected by land
acquisitions.

In addition the bill has a provision by which states can add some more benefits to it.

The bill will eclipse the eminent domain criteria and introduce voting criteria in which 80% of the people
should say yes only then land will be acquired.

The Bill will replace the decade old Land Acquisition Act of 1894, which was enacted during British rule.

However there is still some confusion whether the bill is boon or a bane. Many people say it is a boon,
others say that it is just a move to increase the vote bank in the forthcoming elections.
DISADVANTAGES OF THE BILL
The Industry has serious concerns on some of the provisions of the Land Acquisition Bill.

1. The CII say that the cost of land acquisition will be increased by three times thus making the
forthcoming projects unviable. In addition, the CII notes that the Bill would lead to major delays in
the process of Land acquisition. The clause of obtaining consent of 80 percent of affected families
for private sector and 70 percent of affected families for Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects
would make the process of obtaining consent a very long drawn out process.

2. The Bill talks of an urgency clause which means that government can acquire a land it wants by
ignoring all the pre-set conditions.

3. The Resettlement & Rehabilitation clause gives no guarantee to jobs.

4. The Bill compensates different categories of affected families at par, not aligned to their losses. So
there could be cases where compensation calculated is lower than the market rate.

5. State is the ultimate decision maker when it comes to acquiring farm land.

6. The Bill does not guarantee return of unused land if land owner repays compensation to the state.

In addition, the Government has exempted some clauses & act from the bill. They can acquire land under
these acts without any voting as these are exempted sectors. Some of the sectors are:

o Railways

o Highways

o Defence

o Nuclear Projects

o Low cost housing

o Industrial area or parks.

Besides these, the Land acquisition has been placed under state list. States will decide now whether to
improve the bill or follow the existing norms.

So seeing all these facts, the bill has brought more disadvantages with it rather than the advantages. The
bill is said to be the base for "Right to Fair Compensation," it means wellbeing of the people whose lands
are acquired. Now the question is whether the bill has benefitted the people. Seeing all the disadvantages,
the answer is a NO.

You are in: Home Study Resources Current Affairs

Current Affairs
Land Acquisition Bill: The main points of debate and controversy

Prime Minister Modi is now leading the government from the front and has directed all his MPs to aggressively defend

the Bill and not be affected by the oppositions' charges. The Bill will replace the ordinance promulgated by the

government in December 2014, which had brought changes in the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in

Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation (Amendment) Act (RFCTLARR) passed in 2013 by the UPA

government. If the Bill is not passed in this session, then the ordinance will lapse and cannot be introduced again.

Till now whenever the government acquires a land, it is done under the Land Acquisition Act 1894. In 2007, the UPA

government brought in The Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill to replace the Act.

After the Modi government took over in May 2014, it decided to make some amendments in the Bill which have become

a bone of contention. According PRS Legislative Research these are:

1.Excluded Acts brought under the RFCTLARR Act:

According to the Act 2013, 13 Acts were excluded from the RFCTLARR Act but with the new ordinance they are now

brought under its purview. Thus, it brings the compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement provisions of these 13 laws

in consonance with the Act.

2. Removal of consent clause in five areas:

The ordinance removes the consent clause for acquiring land for five areas - industrial corridors, public private

partnership projects, rural infrastructure, affordable housing and defence.

The ordinance also exempts projects in these five areas from Social Impact Assessment and acquisition of irrigated

multi-cropped land and other agricultural land, which earlier could not be acquired beyond a certain limit.
3. Return of unutilised land:

According to the Act 2013, if the land remains unutilised for five years, then it needs to be returned to the owner. But

according to the ordinance the period after which unutilised land needs to be returned will be five years, or any period

specified at the time of setting up the project, whichever is later.

4. Time frame:

The ordinance states that if the possession of acquired land under Act 1984 is not taken for reasons, then the new law

will be applied.

5. Word 'private company' replaced with 'private entity':

While the Act 2013 stated that the land can be acquired for private companies, the ordinance replaced it with private

entity. A private entity is an entity other than a government entity, and could include a proprietorship, partnership,

company, corporation, non-profit organisation, or other entity under any other law.

6. Offence by government officials:

If an offence is committed by a government official or the head of the department, then s/he cannot be prosecuted

without the prior sanction of the government.

What are the highlights of the new Bill?


Compensation:

Given the inaccurate nature of circle rates, the Bill proposes the payment of compensations that are up to four times the

market value in rural areas and twice the market value in urban areas.

R&R:

This is the very first law that links land acquisition and the accompanying obligations for resettlement and rehabilitation.

Over five chapters and two entire Schedules have been dedicated to outlining elaborate processes (and entitlements)

for resettlement and rehabilitation. The Second Schedule in particular outlines the benefits (such as land for land,

housing, employment and annuities) that shall accrue in addition to the one-time cash payments.

Retrospective operation:

To address historical injustice the Bill applies retrospectively to cases where no land acquisition award has been made.

Also in cases where the land was acquired five years ago but no compensation has been paid or no possession has

taken place then the land acquisition process will be started afresh in accordance with the provisions of this act.
Multiple checks and balances:

A comprehensive, participative and meaningful process (involving the participation of local Panchayati Raj institutions)

has been put in place prior to the start of any acquisition proceeding. Monitoring committees at the national and state

levels to ensure that R&R obligations are met have also been established.

Special safeguards for tribal communities and other disadvantaged groups:

No law can be acquired in scheduled areas without the consent of the Gram Sabhas. The law also ensures that all

rights guaranteed under such legislation as the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act 1996 and the Forest

Rights Act 2006 are taken care of. It has special enhanced benefits (outlined in a dedicated chapter) for those belonging

to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Safeguards against displacement:

The law provides that no one shall be dispossessed until and unless all payments are made and alternative sites for the

resettlement and rehabilitation have been prepared. The Third Schedule even lists the infrastructural amenities that

have to be provided to those that have been displaced.

Compensation for livelihood losers:

In addition to those losing land, the Bill provides compensation to those who are dependent on the land being acquired

for their livelihood.

Consent:

In cases where PPP projects are involved or acquisition is taking place for private companies, the Bill requires the

consent of no less than 70% and 80% respectively (in both cases) of those whose land is sought to be acquired. This

ensures that no forcible acquisition can take place.

Caps on acquisition of multi-crop and agricultural land:

To safeguard food security and to prevent arbitrary acquisition, the Bill directs states to impose limits on the area under

agricultural cultivation that can be acquired.

Return of unutilized land:

In case land remains unutilized after acquisition, the new Bill empowers states to return the land either to the owner or

to the State Land Bank.

Exemption from income tax and stamp duty:

No income tax shall be levied and no stamp duty shall be charged on any amount that accrues to an individual as a

result of the provisions of the new law.


Share in appreciated land value:

Where the acquired land is sold to a third party for a higher price, 40% of the appreciated land value (or profit) will be

shared with the original owners.

How are interests and concerns of farmers protected?


Retrospective effect:

Where awards are made but no compensation has been paid or possession has not been taken, compensation shall be

paid at the rate prescribed under the new Act. Where the Award has not been made the entire process shall be

considered to have lapsed. Also where acquisition has taken place five years prior to the commencement of the new law

but no compensation/ possession has taken place the proceedings shall be deemed to have lapsed.

Consent:

Prior-consent shall be required from 70% of land losers and those working on government assigned lands only in the

case of public-private partnership projects and 80% in the case of private companies. This consent also includes

consent to the amount of compensation that shall be paid.

Return of unutilized land:

Land not used can now be returned to the original owners if the state so decides.

Share in sale of acquired land increased:

The share that has to be distributed among farmers in the increased land value (when the acquired land is sold off to

another party) has been set at 40%.

Income-tax Exemption:

All amounts accruing under this act have been exempted from income tax and from stamp duty.

Strict restrictions on multi-crop acquisition:

The acquisition of agricultural land and multi-crop land has to be carried out as a last resort. There will be definite

restrictions on the extent of acquisition of such land in every state to be determined by the States concerned.

Safeguards to ensure fair price:

Given the way in which market value is to be calculated and the imposition of a solatium of 100% over and above the

amount, the farmers are guaranteed a fair price for their land.
Acquisition only if necessary:

The Collector has to make sure that no other unutilized lands are available before he moves to acquire farm land.

Damage to crops to be included in price:

The final award has to include damage to any standing crops which might have been harmed due to the process of

acquisition (including the preliminary inspection).

Share in developed land:

In case their land is acquired for urbanization purposes 20% of the developed land will be reserved and offered to these

farmers in proportion to the area of their land acquired and at a price equal to the cost of acquisition and the cost of

development.

Fishing rights:

In the case of irrigation or hydel projects, affected families may be allowed fishing rights in the reservoirs.

Additional R&R benefits:

Farmers are also entitled to the various rehabilitation and resettlement benefits which are enumerated in response to

question 2.

Time-bound social impact assessment:

The Bill mandates a social impact assessment of every project which must be completed within a period of six months.

Finalized at the third meeting of the ministerial penal on October 16th 2012, the Group of Ministers has approved the
Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill (LARR). This now paves the way for the Bill to be introduced in
the Parliament in the winter session. Introduced earlier in the Parliament in September 2011, the Bill has been renamed
as The Right to fair Compensation, Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Transparency in Land Acquisition bill.
(RFCRRTLA).

Its finally drafted provisions are listed as below:

(i) The Bill provides for rehabilitation and resettlement of land owners in all private purchases, and in this case, states
are free to set appropriate threshold and if they can offer a better rehabilitation package, they are free to do so earlier,
rehabilitation and resettlement on private purchases applied to all acquisitions above 100 acres in rural areas and 50
acres in urban areas.

(ii) The restriction on the amount of irrigated multi-crop land and net sown area available for acquisition has been left to
the discretion of the States. Earlier, the quantity of irrigated multi-cropped land that could be acquired was capped at
5%.

(iii) Except in irrigation projects, the rehabilitation and resettlement will be in monetary terms.

(iv) The payment of compensation will be one time affair with no obligation on the buyer to be involved in the building of
infrastructure and providing amenities for those being rehabilitated.
(v) The acquirer of the land will put all the money in an written agreement account and an agency established under the
act will monitor the building of infrastructure.

Land Acquisition Act 1894


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding
citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (February
2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

The Land Acquisition Act, 1894 is a British era law[1] that governed the process of land
acquisition in India until 2013 and continues to do so in Pakistan andMyanmar.[2] It allows the
acquisition of land for some public purpose by a government agency from individual landowners
after paying a government-determined compensation to cover losses incurred by landowners
from surrendering their land to the agency. In India, a new Act, The Right to Fair Compensation
and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, replaced this
Raj law.[3]

Land acquisition in India


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Land acquisition in India refers to the process by which the union or a state government in
India acquires private land for the purpose of industrialisation, development of infrastructural
facilities or urbanisation of the private land, and provides compensation to the affected land
owners and their rehabilitation and resettlement.[1]

Land acquisition in India is governed by the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in
Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (LARR) and which came into force
from 1 January 2014.[2] Till 2013, land acquisition in India was governed by Land Acquisition Act
of 1894. On 31 December 2014, the President of India promulgated an ordinance with an official
mandate to "meet the twin objectives of farmer welfare; along with expeditiously meeting the
strategic and developmental needs of the country". An amendment bill was then introduced in
Parliament to endorse the Ordinance. Lok Sabha passed the bill but the same is still lying for
passage by the Rajya Sabha. On 30 May 2015, President of India promulgated the amendment
ordinance for third time.[3][4][5][6][7] Union Government of India has also made and notified the Right to
Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement
(Social Impact Assessment and Consent) Rules, 2014 under the Act to regulate the procedure.
[8]
The land acquisition in Jammu and Kashmir is governed by the Jammu and Kashmir Land
Acquisition Act, 1934.[9]

Contents
[hide]

1Purpose of LARR

2Issues
o 2.1Eminent Domain

o 2.2Legislative changes

o 2.3Monetary compensation

o 2.4Delayed projects

o 2.5Consequences

o 2.6Proposed Amendments

3Alternatives

4See also

5References

Purpose of LARR[edit]
As per the Act, the union or state governments can acquire lands for its own use, hold and
control, including for public sector undertakings and for "public purpose", and shall include the
following purposes:

for strategic purposes relating to naval, military, air force, and armed forces of the Union,
including central paramilitary forces or any work vital to national security or defence of India
or State police, safety of the people;

for infrastructure projects as defined under the Act;

project for project affected families;

project for housing for such income groups, as may be specified from time to time by the
appropriate Government;

project for planned development or the improvement of village sites or any site in the
urban areas or provision of land for residential purposes for the weaker sections in rural and
urban areas;

project for residential purposes to the poor or landless or to persons residing in areas
affected by natural calamities, or to persons displaced or affected by reason of the
implementation of any scheme undertaken by the Government, any local authority or a
corporation owned or controlled by the State.[1]

The land can be acquired for private bodies for certain purposes:

for public private partnership projects, where the ownership of the land continues to vest
with the Government, for public purpose as defined in the Act;

for private companies for public purpose.[1]


Issues[edit]
Some of the important issues surrounding the Land Acquisition are discussed below.[10] The major
land acquisition and conflicts happen in the densely populated areas of the countryside.

Eminent Domain[edit]

The power to take property from the individual is rooted in the idea of eminent domain. The
doctrine of eminent domain states, the sovereign can do anything, if the act of sovereign involves
public interest. The doctrine empowers the sovereign to acquire private land for a public use,
provided the public nature of the usage can be demonstrated beyond doubt. The doctrine is
based on the following two Latin maxims, (1) Salus populi suprema lex (Welfare of the People Is
the Paramount Law) and (2) Necessitas publica major est quam (Public Necessity Is Greater
Than Private Necessity).[11] In the history of modern India, this doctrine was challenged twice
(broadly speaking) once when land reform was initiated and another time when Banks were
nationalized.[12]

The Constitution of India originally provided the right to property (which includes land) under
Articles 19 and 31. Article 19 guaranteed that all citizens have the right to acquire, hold and
dispose of property. Article 31 stated that "no person shall be deprived of his property save by
authority of law." It also indicated that compensation would be paid to a person whose property
has been taken for public purposes (often subject to wide range of meaning). The Forty-Fourth
Amendment of 1978 deleted the right to property from the list of fundamental rights with an
introduction of a new provision, Article 300-A, which provided that "no person shall be deprived of
his property save by authority of law" (Constitution 44th Amendment, w.e.f. 10.6.1979). The
amendment ensured that the right to property is no more a fundamental right but rather a
constitutional/legal right/as a statutory right and in the event of breach, the remedy available to
an aggrieved person is through the High Court under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution and
not the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution. State must pay compensation at the
market value for such land, building or structure acquired (Inserted by Constitution, Seventeenth
Amendment) Act, 1964, the same can be found in the earlier rulings when property right was a
fundamental right (such as 1954 AIR 170, 1954 SCR 558, which propounded that the word
"Compensation" deployed in Article 31(2) implied full compensation, that is the market value of
the property at the time of the acquisition. The Legislature must "ensure that what is determined
as payable must be compensation, that is, a just equivalent of what the owner has been deprived
of"). Elsewhere, Justice, Reddy, O Chinnappa ruled (State Of Maharashtra v. Chandrabhan Tale
on 7 July 1983) that the fundamental right to property has been abolished because of its
incompatibility with the goals of "justice" social, economic and political and "equality of status and
of opportunity" and with the establishment of "a socialist democratic republic, as contemplated by
the Constitution. There is no reason why a new concept of property should be introduced in the
place of the old so as to bring in its wake the vestiges of the doctrine of Laissez Faire and create,
in the name of efficiency, a new oligarchy.[13] Efficiency has many facets and one is yet to discover
an infallible test of efficiency to suit the widely differing needs of a developing society such as
ours" (1983 AIR 803, 1983 SCR (3) 327). The concept of efficiency has been introduced by
Justice Reddy, O Chinnappa, very interestingly coupled with the condition of infallibility (Dey
Biswas 2014, 14-15 footnote).

In India, with this introduction of social elements to the property rights, a new phase had begun.
K. K. Mathew, justice of KesavanandaBharati vs State of Kerala (cited in [14]) stated this precisely:
"Property in consumable goods or means of production worked by their owners (use aspects of
property) were justified as necessary condition of a free and purposeful life; but when property
gave power not only over things but through things over persons (power aspect of property) also,
it was not justified as it was an instrument of servitude rather than freedom" (See [15] for more on
Social Element of Property Rights as a Guiding Problem).

Legislative changes[edit]
Main article: The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition,
Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013

The 2013 Act focuses on providing not only compensation to the land owners, but also extend
rehabilitation and resettlement benefits to livelihood looser from the land, which shall be in
addition to the minimum compensation. The minimum compensation to be paid to the land
owners is based on a multiple of market value and other factors laid down in the Act. The Act
forbids or regulates land acquisition when such acquisition would include multi-crop irrigated
area. The Act changed the norms for acquisition of land for use by private companies or in case
of public-private partnerships, including compulsory approval of 80% of the landowners. The Act
also introduced changes in the land acquisition process, including a compulsory social-impact
study, which need to be conducted before an acquisition is made.[16]

The new law, also has some serious shortcomings as regards its provisions for socioeconomic
impact assessment and it has also bypassed the constitutional local self governments by not
recognizing them as "appropriate governments" in matters of land acquisition. [17]

Monetary compensation[edit]

Major Indian infrastructure projects such as the Yamuna Expressway have paid about INR 2800
crores (US$500 million) for land,[18] or over US$25,000 per acre between 2007 and 2009. For
context purposes, this may be compared with land prices elsewhere in the world:

According to The Financial Times, in 2008, the farmland prices in France were Euro
6,000 per hectare ($2,430 per acre; IN Rs. 1,09,350 per acre).[19]

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, as of January 2010, the


average farmland value in the United States was $2,140 per acre (IN Rs. 96,300 per acre).
The farmland prices in the United States varied between different parts of the country,
ranging between $480 per acre to $4,690 per acre.[20]

A 2010 report by the Government of India, on labor whose livelihood depends on agricultural
land, claims that, per 2009 data collected across all states in India, the all-India annual average
daily wage rates in agricultural occupations ranged between IN Rs.[21] 53 to 117 per day for men
working in farms (US$354 to 780 per year), and between IN Rs. 41 to 72 per day for women
working in farms (US$274 to 480 per year). This wage rate in rural India study included the
following agricultural operations common in India: ploughing, sowing, weeding, transplanting,
harvesting, winnowing, threshing, picking, herdsmen, tractor driver, unskilled help, masonry, etc.

The compensation for the acquired land is based on the value of the agricultural land, however
price increases have been ignored. The land value would increase many times, which the current
buyer would not benefit from.[22] Secondly, if the prices are left for the market to determine, the
small peasants could never influence the big corporate tycoons. Also it is mostly judiciary who
has awarded higher compensation then bureaucracy (Singh 2007).

Delayed projects[edit]

Delayed projects due to mass unrest have caused a damaging effect to the growth and
development of companies and the economy as a whole. Earlier states likeMaharashtra, Tamil
Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh had been an attractive place for investors, but the
present day revolts have shown that land acquisition in some states pose problems. [23]

Consequences[edit]

The consequences of land acquisition in India are manifold.The empirical and theoretical studies
on displacement through the acquisition of land by the government for development projects
have so far focussed on the direct and immediate adverse consequences of land acquisition.
[24]
Most of the analytical as well as the descriptive accounts of the immediate consequences of
land acquisition for development projects draws heavily from Michael Cerneas impoverishment
risk model, which broadly enumerated eight risks or dimensions of development-induced
displacement. These eight risks are very much direct and basic in nature which are (i)
landlessness, (ii) joblessness, (iii) marginalization, (iv) loss of access to common property
resources, (v) increased morbidity and mortality, (vi) food insecurity, (vii) homelessness and (viii)
social disarticulation ([25]). Recently L.K. Mahapatra has added loss of education as another
impoverishment risk in situations of displacement (Mahapatra 1999).

But apart from these direct and immediate effects of land acquisition there are more subtle and
indirect effects of this coercive and centralized legal procedure, which have a bearing on various
decentralised and participatory democratic processes, and institutions of the state power. Land
reforms and the Panchayati raj institutions are the two most important areas, which are being
vitiated by land acquisition.[26] Of all the states of India, the consequences and controversies
around land acquisition in West Bengal has recently gained a lot of national and international
attention. The peasant resistances against governmental land expropriation in Singur(a place in
the Hoogly district) and Nandigram(a place in the East Medinipur district) has finally led to the fall
of the communist party(Marxist) led government in West Bengal, which ruled the state through
democratic election for 34 years.The communist led left front government of West Bengal under
the economic liberalisation policy adopted by the Central/Union government of the country
shifted from its pro-farmer policy and took to the capitalist path of industrial development, which
at the micro-levels endangered the food security of the small and marginal farmers as well as
sharecroppers who formed the vote bank of the left front government of West Bengal [27] The new
anti-communist Trinamul Congress led government of West Bengal which came to power in the
state in 2011 through a massive electoral victory is yet to develop any comprehensive
resettlement and rehabilitation policy for the thousands of families affected by various
development projects. The new government has enacted a law on 14 June 2011, in the West
Bengal Assembly named Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, 2011. With this law,
the West Bengal government has reacquired about 1000 acres of farmland from the Tatas which
wasgiven to the company for building a small-car manufacturing factory in 2006 by the then Left
Front government. The Trinamul governments intention was to return 400 acres of farmland to
the unwilling farmers around whom the agitation against the Left Front government was
organised by the Trinamul Congress party. However, now the whole issue seems to have fallen
into a long legal battle between the present state government and the Tatas, as the latter has
challenged the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act in the court. As a result, the
Trinamul government has not yet been able to return the land to those unwilling farmers nor
have they received any compensation (The Statesman, 12 January 2012).In another case of
governmental land acquisition for housing at North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, the
farmers began to cultivate their farmland which were acquired but remained unutilised. According
to media report these farmers were assured by the Trinamul Congress party leaders before the
election that their land, which is about 1687 acres would be returned to them if the party could
come to power. However, now these farmers are turning their backs to the Trinamul Congress,
since the party has not kept its pre-election promise (The Statesman, 11 February 2012). Under
the above disturbing episodes, it may be worthwhile to narrate the glaring incident of the
opposition levelled by Mamata Banerjee, the present chief minister of West Bengal to the draft
Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill 2007 in the Lok Sabha. At that time Miss Mamata Banerjee
was the Railway Minister of the Central Government. She opposed to a clause of the bill which
empowered private companies to acquire up to 70 per cent land directly from farmers and
landowners. The remaining 30 per cent could be acquired by the state government. Miss
Banerjee wanted private companies to buy 100 per cent of the land, according to a report (The
Statesman, 26 July 2009). It seemed that Miss Banerjee would have allowed the amended Bill to
be passed if the Lok Sabha agreed to modify the 70/30 proportion to 100 per cent purchase by
the companies under the principleof willing-buyer-willing-seller.[28]

Eminent domain doctrine has been widely used in India since the era of Independence, with over
21.6 million people in the period of 1951-90.[29] They have been displaced with large-scale
projects like dams, canals, thermal plants, sanctuaries, industrial facilities, and mining (Pellissery
and Dey Biswas 2012, pp 3254). These occurrences are generally categorized as
"development-induced displacement".

The process of land acquisition in India has proven unpopular with the citizenry. The amount
reimbursed is fairly low with regard to the current index of prices prevailing in the economy.
Furthermore, due to the low level of human capital of the displaced people, they often fail to find
adequate employment ([30]).

The draft of the governments National Policy for Rehabilitation states that a figure around 75%
of the displaced people since 1951 are still awaiting rehabilitation. [31]However, it should be noted
that displacement is only being considered with regard to "Direct Displacement". These
rehabilitation policies do not cover fishermen, landless laborers, and artisans. Roughly one in ten
Indian tribals is a displaced person. Dam projects have displaced close to a million Adivasis, with
similar woe for displaced Dalits. Some estimate suggests 40 percent of displaced people are of
tribal origins (Fernandes, 2008).

There have been a rising number of political and social protests against the acquisition of land by
various industrialists. They have ranged from Bengal, Karnataka, andUttar Pradesh in the recent
past.[32] The acquisition of 997 acres of land by Tata motors in Bengal in order to set up a factory
for the cheapest car in India was protested (Singur Tata Nano controversy).At least a decade
before the Singur episode similar events occurred in West Bengal, although the opposition
parties and other civil society organisations remained silent at that time. [33] Similarly, the Sardar
Sarovar Dam project on the river Narmada was planned on acquired land, though the project
was later canceled by the World Bank (Bs and McNeill 2003, pp 121-122, 125, 142-43 and
more).
The Land Acquisition Act of 1894 allowed the government to acquire private lands. It is the only
legislation pertaining to land acquisition which, though amended several times, has failed to
serve its purpose. Under the 1894 Act, displaced people were only liable
for monetary compensation linked with market value of the land in question, which was still quite
minimal considering circle rates are often misleading (Singh 2007). Land acquisition related
conflicts during the post-reform period in India has shown three distinctive tendencies; (1)
Technocracy and Bundle of Rights, (2) Power-land Regulation Nexus, and (3) Disappearing
Commons.[34]

Displaced Tribals [35]

Displaced Tribal
Project State
Population Percentage

Karjan Gujarat 11,600 100

Sardar Sarovar Gujarat 2,00,000 57.6

Maheshwar Madhya Pradesh 20,000 60

Bodhghat Madhya Pradesh 12,700 73.91

Icha Bihar 30,800 80

Chandil Bihar 37,600 87.92

Koel Karo Bihar 66,000 88

Mahi Bajaj Sajar Rajasthan 38,400 76.28

Polavaram Andhra Pradesh 1,50,000 52.90

Maithon & Panchet Bihar 93,874 56.46

Upper Indravati Odisha 18,500 89.20

Pong Himachal Pradesh 80,000 56.25


Displaced Tribals [35]

Displaced Tribal
Project State
Population Percentage

Ichampalli Andhra Pradesh 38,100 76.28

Tultuti Maharashtra 13,600 51.61

Daman Ganga Gujarat 8,700 48.70

Bhakra Himachal Pradesh 36,000 34.76

Masan Reservoir Bihar 3,700 31

Ukai Reservoir Gujarat 52,000 18.92

Tamnar chhattisgarh 59999

Proposed Amendments[edit]

The current Narendra Modi lead National Democratic Alliance (India) government driven Land
Acquisition Amendment Bill[36] in the Lok Sabha on 10 March 2015 has seen a tough resistance
from key position parties in India who have called the proposed amendments "anti farmer" and
"anti poor". The proposed amendments remove requirements for approval from farmers to
proceed with land acquisition under five broad categories of projects. [37] While the bill was passed
in Lok Sabha, it still needs approval from the Rajya Sabha, where the current government does
not have a majority, for the proposed amendments to become effective.

The following are the main "disputation points":[38]

The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation


and Resettlement Act, 2013 defines consent clause as "land can only be acquired with
approval of the 70% of the land owners for PPP projects and 80% for the private entities. But
the proposed amendments by the Narendra Modigovernment does away with consent clause
for Industrial corridors, Public Private Partnership projects, Rural Infrastructure, Affordable
housing and defense projects.
The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation
and Resettlement Act, 2013 says the land unutilized for 5 years should be returned to the
owner, but the amendment proposed by NDA government intends to change to 5 years or
any period specified at the time of setting up the project.

While the The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition,
Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 allows private companies to acquire land but the
proposed amendment allows any private entity to acquire land.

According to the new amendment if any government official conducts any wrongdoing he
or she cannot be prosecuted without prior sanction from the government.

The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation


and Resettlement Act, 2013 mandated the social assessment before land acquisition but the
NDA governments proposed bill does away with this requirement.

The National Democratic Alliance (India) government came under heavy attacks from opposition
parties and farmer organization for the proposed Land Acquisition bill amendments. The
opponents of the Land acquisition bill claim the bill to be "anti-farmer" and "pro corporate". They
claim that the amendments are aimed at "benefiting the large corporate houses".

The opposition Indian National Congress has opposed the bill in and out of Parliament. Sonia
Gandhi, the chairperson of UPA and Indian National Congress, called the bill "anti-poor" and
"anti-farmer". She alleged that the bill will "break the backbone of India". [39]

Samajwadi party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav said the Modi government is "taking anti-farmer
stand" and is "favoring industrialists". [40]

Not only the opposition parties but also other organization that traditionally supported Bharatiya
Janta Party such as Mazdoor Sangh, Bhartiya Kisan Sangh and Akhil Bhartiya Vanvasi Kalyan
Ashram have come heavily against the amendments proposed by the Narendra Modi lead NDA
government. As per the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, the Modi governments land ordinance tweaks
the fundamentals of the The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition,
Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 passed by the UPA government and supported by the
BJP two years ago. [41] [42] [43]

Alternatives[edit]
One of the alternative proposals to land acquisition is leasing the land from landowners for a
certain lease period. Proponents cite how land acquisition policies by Governments unwittingly
encourage rampant land speculation making the projects expensive since huge portion of
investment would be need to be allocated for land acquisition costs.[44] According to them, policies
of land acquisition gave way to political cronyism where land is acquired cheaply by securing
favors from local governments and sold to industries at steep markup prices. Leasing land, may
also support sustainable project development since the lands need to be returned to the
landowners at the end of the lease period in a condition similar to its original form with out
considerable environmental degradation.[45] When the land is leased then anybody who has to
otherwise give up land or livelihood will be compensated for its growing valuation over time. In
this model, the landowner lends her land to the government for a steadily-increasing rent, or
through an annuity-based system as currently practiced in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. [46]
Some industries already follow the model of leasing lands instead of acquiring it. Energy
development projects such as oil & gas extraction usually lease lands. Renewable energy
projects such as Wind Power farms projects often lease the land from land owners instead of
trying to acquire the land which could make the projects prohibitively expensive.

Summary:

Opposition parties in the parliament are opposing the Land Acquisition Bill in the
present form and are demanding some changes. They say that the bill is Anti farmer.
Coming under such huge pressure, the government has finally agreed to amend the
bill and bring in some changes. But the stalemate over the issue still continues. The
methodology that is being used to bring in the changes is also being criticised.

The allies of the BJP have also joined opposition parties in resisting the introduction
of the contentious land acquisition amendment bill in Parliament. Analysts say the
backlash over the bill could stonewall the PMs efforts to get reforms through this
budget session, impeding big-ticket projects worth thousands of crores that have
been stuck for want of land. But the government has been defending itself by saying
that the bill is pro-poor and pro-farmer.

The opposition has also alleged that the government has killed the spirit of the
original Bill by doing away with the provision of seeking a social impact assessment
and the requirement to get the prior consent of 70% of land owners before the
acquisition of agricultural land. The new bill aims to relax some of the provisions in
the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition,
Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 passed by the previous Congress-led UPA.

Land reform in India


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Contents
[hide]

1Goals

2Categories

3History

4Land ceilings

5See also

6References
Goals[edit]
Land title formalization has been part of Indias state policy from the very beginning.
[1]
Independent Indias most revolutionary land policy was perhaps the abolition of the Zamindari
system (feudal land holding practices). Land-reform policy in India had two specific objectives:
"The first is to remove such impediments to increase in agricultural production as arise from the
agrarian structure inherited from the pastThe second object, which is closely related to the first,
is to eliminate all elements of exploitation and social injustice within the agrarian system, to
provide security for the tiller of soil and assure equality of status and opportunity to all sections of
the rural population. (Government of India 1961 as quoted by Appu 1996 [2])

Categories[edit]
There are four main categories of reforms:

Abolition of intermediaries (rent collectors under the pre-Independence land revenue


system);

Tenancy regulation (to improve the contractual terms including security of tenure);

A ceiling on landholdings (to redistributing surplus land to the landless);

Attempts to consolidate disparate landholdings.[3]

History[edit]
Since its independence in 1947, there has been voluntary and state initiated/mediated land
reforms in several states[4][5] with duel objectivity of efficient use of land [3]and ensuring social
justice.[6][7] The most notable and successful example of land reforms are in the states of West
Bengal and Kerala. Other than these state sponsored attempts of reforming land ownership and
control, there was another attempt to bring changes in the regime which achieved limited
success; famously known as Bhoodan movement (Government of India, Ministry of Rural
Development 2003, Annex XXXIX). Some other research has shown that during the movement,
in Vidarbha region, 14 percent of the land records are incomplete, thus prohibiting transfer to the
poor. 24 percent of the land promised had never actually become part of the movement. The
Gramdan which arguably took place in 160,000 pockets did not legalize the process under the
state laws (Committee on Land Reform 2009, 77, Ministry of Rural Development).

After promising land reforms and elected to power in West Bengal in 1977, the Communist Party
of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) kept their word and initiated gradual land reforms, such as Operation
Barga. The result was a more equitable distribution of land among the landless farmers, and
enumeration of landless farmers. This has ensured an almost lifelong loyalty from the farmers
and the communists were in power till 2011 assembly election. [8]

In land reform in Kerala, the only other large state where the CPI(M) came to power, state
administrations have actually carried out the most extensive land, tenancy and agrarian labor
wage reforms in the non-socialist late-industrializing world. [9] Another successful land reform
program was launched in Jammu and Kashmir after 1947.
However, this success was not replicated in other areas like the states of Andhra and Madhya
Pradesh, where the more radical Communist Party of India (Maoist) orNaxalites resorted to
violence as it failed to secure power. In the state of Bihar, tensions between land owners militia,
villagers and Maoists have resulted in numerous massacres.

All in all, land reforms have been successful only in pockets of the country, as people have often
found loopholes in the laws that set limits on the maximum area of land that is allowed to be held
by any one person.[6][10][11][12]

Land ceilings[edit]
The following table shows land ceilings for each state in India.

Ceiling
N Ceiling Compan
State (individ Excepted from ceiling
o. (family) ies
ual)

10 standard
acres (up to 5
5
Kerala[1 members); 15
1 standard Plantations
3]
standard acres
acres
(more than 10
members)

30 standard
acres (up to 5
members); 35
standard acres 30 15
Tamil
2 (6 members); standard standard Plantations
Nadu[14]
40 standard acres acres
acres (more
than 6
members)

mills, factories, workshop, tea


gardens, livestock breeding farm,
poultry farm, dairy, industrial park
or industrial hub or industrial estate,
West
24.7 fishery, transportation or terminal,
3 Bengal[
15]
acres logistic hub, township, financial hub,
logistic hub, educational and
medical institutions, oil and gas
products piped transportation, and
mining and allied activities
Land acquisition in the country India is basically a process in which the union and
the state government of the country is trying to acquire any private land owned
by any person for the purpose of industrialization and for the development of
infrastructure and other facilities or urbanization working on providing excellent
facilities using the private land and instead provide compensation or any nominal
charges to the affected land owners of the private land and rehabilitating them
or changing their stay location basically resettling them.

Land acquisition in India is working under the governance by the Right to Fair
Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and
Resettlement Act, 2013 (LARR) which came into force on 1 January of the year
2014 and until the year of 2013 land acquisition in India was working under the
governance of the act passed in the year 1894( Land Acquisition Act of 1894).
But On the 31st December of the year 2014 the President of India initiated an
ordinance with an official mandate to meet the twin objectives one of them is
the farmers welfare and prosperity ad to provide them with the best of the best
compensation and secondly is to have a strategic and effective development to
lead to the urbanization of the place and for the industrial development and full
use or optimum utilization of the land acquired In the best possible ways to
benefit all the parties of the deal.

An amendment bill was then introduced in Parliament to endorse the Ordinance.


Lok Sabha passed the bill but the same bill is yet kept awaited by the other
house in function Rajya sabha and On the 30th of May of the year 2015,
President of India promulgated the amendment ordinance for the third time for
the land acquisition bill .

Union Government of India made and also notified the Right to Fair
Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and for the
Resettlement Rules, 2014 under the Act to regulate the procedure. The land
acquisition bill in Jammu and Kashmir is governed by the Jammu and Kashmir
Land Acquisition Act, 1934 cause the state is an independent identity and is not
ruled by any government rule or constitution of a country.

Objectives of the LARR

According to the Act the union or state governments can acquire lands for its
utilization for the development of industrialization and urbanization and hold as
well as control that includes for public sector undertakings and for the welfare of
the public and shall include the following purposes:
For Hindi Version of IAS Paper Website http://www.ias.net.in/hindi Click here to
visit

For strategic purposes relating to basically to the combined forces of the naval,
military, air force and armed forces of the Union and also including the central
forces or any work which is very important for the national security and defence
of India which also may include the State police and for safeguarding purpose of
the people.

For the development of the infrastructure projects as mentioned under the Act.

Launching of the new projects or plans for those families affected by the project
or plans initiated by the government.

Projects planning and providing for housing facilities for some income groups
which may be specified from time to time by the appropriate Government and
notified by the government.

Project for planning the development or the improvement of rural and village
sites and locations or any other site in the semi-urban areas or provision of land
for residential purposes for the weaker sections in rural and urban areas.

Project for residential purposes to the poor and backward or to the landless
people or to persons residing in those areas which are affected by natural
calamities or to persons displaced or affected by reason of the implementation of
any scheme which is undertaken by the Government or any local authority or
either by any corporation owned or controlled by the State.

The land can be acquired for private bodies for certain purposes:

For public-private partnership projects, where the ownership of the land


continues to be with the Government and for public purpose as defined under
the act.

For private companies and for the public purposes.

Monetary compensation:

* Major Indian infrastructure projects have received a compensation wherein the


government has paid about INR 2800 crores which are approximately (US$500
million) for the Yamuna expressway project for land or over US$25,000 per acre
between the year of 2007 and the year of 2009.

* According to The Financial Times, in the year of 2008, the farmland prices in
the country of France were in the Euro rate was 6,000euors per hectare $2,430
per acre which is INR Rs. 1,09,350 per acre.
* The compensation for the acquired land is based on the value of the
agricultural land, however, price increases have been ignored. The land value
would increase many times, which the current buyer would not benefit from .
Secondly, if the prices are left for the market to determine, the small peasants
could never influence the big corporate giants Also it is mostly judiciary who has
awarded higher compensation than bureaucracy.

* The land acquisition bill was lately too much in discussion and had become a
vital topic all over the country. There have been a rising number of political and
social protests against the acquisition of land by various industrialists and
business giants.

One of the best alternatives to the land acquisition proposals and suggestions
offered was to basically lease the land from the landowners for a particular lease
period that will be decided by the mutual consent . Proponents cite how land
acquisition policies by Governments unwittingly encourage rampant land
speculation making the projects expensive since a huge portion of investment
would need to be allocated for land acquisition costs too!

So here it is about the land acquisition bill Which one should know.

GoM clears final draft of land acquisition Bill

The group of ministers (GoM) headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad


Pawar has cleared the much-delayed Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and
Resettlement (LARR) Bill, after approving some relaxations which
addressed the concerns expressed by several ministries.

Major highlights of the previous Bill are:

The Bill seeks to ensure appropriate compensation for land losers and
labourers dependent on the land proposed to be acquired for living.

The definition of public purpose has been made clear. The Bill defines
public purpose as land use for strategic purposes, infrastructure and
industry.

There will be different land acquisition norms of rural and urban areas.

The states will be free to make their own land acquisition laws.

The Bill makes it mandatory for private parties buying 50 acres in


urban areas to file intimation to the District Collectors on "the intent to
buy the land, the purpose of purchase and the particulars of the land to
be bought."

The Bill would give enhanced compensation and relief and


rehabilitation (R&R) package to displaced persons.

A maximum of 5% multi-crop land can be acquired in a district on the


condition that equal area of degraded land would be developed. If net
sown area is less than 50% of total land in a district, then only 10% of
such land is open for acquisition for different projects.

The draft makes consent of at least 80 per cent landowners mandatory


if acquisition is for private projects.

The bill proposals include a subsistence allowance of Rs. 3000 per


family per month for a year and an annuity of Rs.2000 per family per
month for 20 years.

The new provisions added are:

The final draft of the bill proposes consent of two-third of land losers
(from whom land would be purchased) for acquiring land for public-
private-partnership and private projects.

The GoM also agreed to have flexibility in the validity period for the
social impact assessment (SIA), based on the assessment of the state
chief secretarys committee which has to be constituted to review SIAs
for acquisitions above 200 crore.

It has also agreed not to fix a mandatory ceiling for land acquisition of
multi-crop land, leaving the decision to the state governments. The state
governments will also have to fix a threshold of land acquisitions, beyond
which they can impose rehabilitation and resettlement requirements
even on private land purchases.

The GoM has agreed to allow possession of acquired land even before
the completion of rehabilitation and resettlement of the affected families,
but only after having provided monetary compensation. However, in case
of irrigation projects, the rehabilitation and resettlement provisions must
be fulfilled at least six months before the submergence takes place.

Land Acquisition: An overview of proposed amendments to the law


March 16th, 2015JoyitaLeave a commentGo to comments

On March 10, Lok Sabha passed a Bill to amend the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land
Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. The Bill is now pending in Rajya Sabha. This blog
briefly outlines the context and the major legislative changes to the land acquisition law.
I. Context

Land acquisition, unlike the purchase of land, is the forcible take-over of privately owned land by the
government. Land is acquired for projects which serve a public purpose. These include government projects,
public-private partnership projects, and private projects. Currently, what qualifies as public purpose has been
defined to include defence projects, infrastructure projects, and projects related to housing for the poor, among
others.

Till 2014, the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 regulated the process of land acquisition. While the 1894 Act
provided compensation to land owners, it did not provide for rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) to displaced
families. These were some of the reasons provided by the government to justify the need for a new legislation
to regulate the process of land acquisition. Additionally, the Supreme Court had also pointed out issues
with determination of fair compensation, and what constitutes public purpose, etc., in the 1894 Act. To this
end, the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act,
2013 was passed by Parliament, in 2013.

II. Current legislative framework for land acquisition

The 2013 Act brought in several changes to the process of land acquisition in the country. Firstly, it increased
the compensation provided to land owners, from 1.3 times the price of land to 2 times the price of land in
urban areas, and 2-4 times the price of land in rural areas. Secondly, unlike the earlier Act which did not
provide rehabilitation and resettlement, the 2013 Act provided R&R to land owners as well as those families
which did not own land, but were dependent on the land for their livelihood. The Act permits states to provide
higher compensation and R&R.

Thirdly, unlike the previous Act, it mandated that a Social Impact Assessment be conducted for all projects,
except those for which land was required urgently. An SIA assesses certain aspects of the acquisition such as
whether the project serves a public purpose, whether the minimum area that is required is being acquired, and
the social impact of the acquisition. Fourthly, it also mandated that the consent of 80% of land owners be
obtained for private projects, and the consent of 70% of land owners be obtained for public-private partnership
projects. However, consent of land owners is not required for government projects. The 2013 Act also made
certain other changes to the process of land acquisition, including prohibiting the acquisition of irrigated multi-
cropped land, except in certain cases where the limit may be specified by the government.

III. Promulgation of an Ordinance to amend the 2013 Act

In addition to the 2013 Act, there are certain other laws which govern land acquisition in particular sectors,
such as the National Highways Act, 1956 and the Railways Act, 1989. The 2013 Act required that the
compensation and R&R provisions of 13 such laws be brought in consonance with it, within a year of its
enactment, (that is, by January 1, 2015) through a notification. Since this was not done by the required date,
the government issued an Ordinance (as Parliament was not in session) to extend the compensation and R&R
provisions of the 2013 Act to these 13 laws. However, the Ordinance also made other changes to the 2013
Act.

The Ordinance was promulgated on December 31, 2014 and will lapse on April 5, 2015 if not passed as a law
by Parliament. Thus, the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and
Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015 has been introduced in Parliament to replace the Ordinance. The Bill has
been passed by Lok Sabha, with certain changes, and is pending in Rajya Sabha. The next section outlines the
major changes the Bill (as passed by Lok Sabha) proposes to make to 2013 Act.

IV. Changes proposed by the 2015 Bill to the 2013 Act

Some of the major changes proposed by the 2015 Bill (as passed by Lok Sabha) relate to provisions such as
obtaining the consent of land owners; conducting an SIA; return of unutilised land; inclusion of private entities;
and commission of offences by the government.
Certain exemptions for five categories of projects: As mentioned above, the 2013 Act requires that the
consent of 80% of land owners is obtained when land is acquired for private projects, and the consent of 70%
of land owners is obtained when land is acquired for public-private partnership projects. The Bill exempts five
categories of projects from this provision of the 2013 Act. These five categories are: (i) defence, (ii) rural
infrastructure, (iii) affordable housing, (iv) industrial corridors (set up by the government/government
undertakings, up to 1 km on either side of the road/railway), and (v) infrastructure projects.

The Bill also allows the government to exempt these five categories of projects from: (i) the requirement of a
Social Impact Assessment, and (ii) the limits that apply for acquisition of irrigated multi-cropped land, through
issuing a notification. Before issuing this notification, the government must ensure that the extent of land
being acquired is in keeping with the minimum land required for such a project.

The government has stated that these exemptions are being made in order to expedite the process of land
acquisition in these specific areas. However, the opponents of the Bill have pointed out that these five
exempted categories could cover a majority of projects for which land can be acquired, and consent and SIA
will not apply for these projects.

Return of unutilised land: Secondly, the Bill changes the time period after which unutilised, acquired land
must be returned. The 2013 Act states that if land acquired under it remains unutilised for five years, it must
be returned to the original owners or the land bank. The Bill changes this to state that the period after which
unutilised land will need to be returned will be the later of: (i) five years, or (ii) any period specified at the time
of setting up the project.

Acquisition of land for private entities: Under the 2013 Act, as mentioned above, land can be acquired for
the government, a public-private partnership, or a private company, if the acquisition serves a public purpose.
The third major change the Bill seeks to make is that it changes the term private company to private entity.
This implies that land may now be acquired for a proprietorship, partnership, corporation, non-profit
organisation, or other entity, in addition to a private company, if the project serves a public purpose.

Offences by the government: Fourthly, under the 2013 Act, if an offence is committed by a government
department, the head of the department will be held guilty unless he can show that he had exercised due
diligence to prevent the commission of the offence. The Bill removes this section. It adds a provision to state
that if an offence is committed by a government employee, he can be prosecuted only with the prior sanction
of the government.

Acquisition of land for private hospitals and educational institutions: While the 2013 Act excluded
acquisition of land for private hospitals and private educational institutions, the Bill sought to include these two
within its scope. However, the Lok Sabha removed this provision of the Bill. Thus, in its present form, the Bill
does not include the acquisition of land for private hospitals and private educational institutions.

Other changes proposed in Lok Sabha: In addition to removing social infrastructure from one of the five
exempted categories of projects, clarifying the definition of industrial corridors, and removing the provision
related to acquisition for private hospitals and private educational institutions, the Lok Sabha made a few other
changes to the Bill, prior to passing it. These include: (i) employment must be provided to one member of an
affected family of farm labour as a part of the R&R award, in addition to the current provision which specifies
that one member of an affected family must be provided employment as a part of R&R; (ii) hearings of the
Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authority to address grievances related to compensation be
held in the district where land is being acquired; and (iii) a survey of wasteland must be conducted and records
of these land must be maintained.

For more details on the 2015 Bill, see the PRS Bill page, here.

A version of this blog appeared on rediff.com on February 27, 2015.

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1.

Ahmad Mehmood

April 7th, 2015 at 10:19 | #1

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The most lucid, concise and informative article i have seen by far on Land Acquisition Bill Amendment.

2.

ravi ranjan

April 14th, 2015 at 13:13 | #2

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valuable facts

3.

Vinod

August 16th, 2015 at 12:16 | #3

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Confusion still persists :


With reference to section 24 (1)(a) of the 2013 act, determination of compensation to be applicable as per new
act, wherein acquisition was initiated but Award was not made prior to 1/1/2014.
The date of Market Value is pegged on the date of notification under section 11 of the new Act , but in most
cases notification under section 11 not published and date of valuation still being considered the date of
notification under section 4 of the Old Act.
Under the Old Act one would get compensated as per the highest exemplary in the vicinity, whereas as per the
New Act , one gets compensated on the average pricing.
Therefore one gets compensated less as per the New Act in comparison to the Old Act, which is totally unjust
and unfair, thus against the very purpose of the New Act to provide for Just and Fair compensation in a very
transparent manner