Come 2014 and a new law will guide all land acquisitions by central or state governments, bringing in stricter norms and increasing landowners’ compensation significantly.
The ministry of rural development plans to notify the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2013, commonly referred to as the Land Acquisition Act, with effect from January 1, 2014, little more than two years after it was first introduced in the Parliament.
“We will notify the Act on January 1,” Jairam Ramesh, the rural development minister, said, adding that the entire process of the new Act coming into force is on the fast track. The ministry has invited comments from the stakeholders over the next 45 days after which these will be published in the official gazette and finalised within 90 days.
The Land Acquisition Act was passed by the Parliament during monsoon session and has already received the assent of the President. The law replaces the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 by establishing new rules for compensation as well as resettlement and rehabilitation. The most important feature of the Act is that the developers will need the consent of up to 80 per cent of people whose land is acquired for private projects and of 70 per cent of the landowners in the case of public-private partnership projects. Besides, it provides for compensation as high as four times than the practice now in rural areas and two times in urban areas.
However, industry concerns related to land use have not been addressed in these draft rules because it is a state subject. “Centre will only come out with suggestive guidelines on issues where it does not have a legislative jurisdiction but these are desirable activity under the Land Acquisition Act,” Ramesh said.
Land acquisitions for factories, roads and housing projects in states like Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have sparked clashes between farmers and state authorities, resulting in huge project delays. Responding to a proposal from some political leaders on acquisition of only wasteland for industrialisation, Ramesh said the ministry has come out with the Wasteland Atlas of India, based on the 2008-09 figures, in association with the Indian Space Research Organisation.
Source: The Economic Times