Undue Haste on Land Ordinace

A government’s intentions are better understood and justified if the changes introduced are done via a bill than the ordinance route.

It is wise and reasonable for any government to carefully study the implications of implementation to be able to justify any possible amendments.

  • Undue haste: An amendment to a bill which came into force after lengthy debates and massive consultations in less than one year of its introduction and that too via an ordinance route is apparently hasty and unwarranted. The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Ordinance), 2014 is meant to face criticism as the changes suggested are significant dilution of the progressive law.
  • Changes suggested: The Ordinance omits the requirement of a social impact assessment study in a wide range of projects; the informed consent of a large section of the families which are affected by the Act. The above projects are important to national security and defence, rural infrastructure, affordable housing for the poor, industrial corridors, infrastructure and social upliftment. The ordinance makes acquisition a consultative and participative process subject to bureaucratic discretion.

The Land Acquisition Bill in original give concrete shape to fair compensation and new structure for rehabilitation and resettlement. It also made it the government duty to create specified amenities in every resettlement area. Although the ordinance does not dilute these provisions, but extends them to a list of Acts, which were exempted. PM has projected the Act will extend protection to the affected families but the intentions get diluted in the haste shown by the government to put forward the ordinance.