The National Policy on Rehabilitation and Resettlement (R&R) 2007


The aim of the policy
 The new policy's stated aim is to strike "a balance between

the need for land for developmental activities and, at the same time, protecting the interests of the land owners, and others…. whose livelihood depends on the land involved.”

The National Policy on Rehabilitation and Resettlement (R&R) 2007
 The National Policy on Rehabilitation and Resettlement

(R&R) 2007, to replace the National Policy on Resettlement and Rehabilitation for Project Affected Families, 2003.  The protests against SEZs that provided urgency to the issue of a new R&R policy.  The objective of policy is to minimize displacement of people and to promote non-displacing or least-displacing alternatives.

Various provisions
 To bring a legislation on the lines of the new policy. Since

there is no law conferring the explicit right to rehabilitation.  The projects displacing people above a threshold number will require a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) that shall take into account "the impact that the project will have on public and community properties, assets and infrastructure".  The "land acquired for a public purpose cannot be transferred to any other purpose but a public purpose" .  If acquired land remains unutilised for more than 5 years, it shall revert back to the government.

Limitations of the policy
 The objective of minimising displacement of people-should

be considered at concept stage, but no criterion to ensure it in project.  Use of clauses like if available, as far as possible, makes it a very flexible policy. It gives the authority escape route to avoid any confrontation.  No addressing of power of incumbent committees to stop project in case of slippage or failure of resettlement. These are Project/District R&R Committees, an Ombudsman, a National Monitoring Committee, a National Monitoring Cell and a National Rehabilitation Commission.

Questions to be answered
 an R&R Policy has to be part and parcel of a broader

development policy that is committed to ensuring justice, equity and sustainability along with economic benefits qDo the potentially affected people have a meaningful say in the project decision making process? qDoes the development planning process attempt to minimize or avoid displacement? qIs displacement a factor in the decision making? qDoes the planning process require the feasibility of resettlement to be established before giving a go-ahead to a project?

qDo the development policy and the R&R policy require that benefits of the project be shared with the affected people? qThat indeed, they have the first right on the benefits? qDoes the R&R policy require that no displacement or impact can occur without resettlement being achieved first (for example, in case of a dam, no submergence without resettlement), and does it require that work be stopped in case of slippage of R&R?

 Many

of the important recommendations made by displaced people and their organisations seem to have been ignored.  The policy will again end up paying lip-service to the affected people with the mistaken hope that this will pacify the protests against large scale displacement taking place all over the country.

Thank You

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