Is the new land acquisition law is effective in addressing the issues pertaining to land acquisition? What are the problems faced by the affected people?
On January 1, 2014, the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 came into force. It replaced the Land Acquisition Act of 1894. The law regulates the acquisition of land by government (Centre and states except J&K) for industrialisation, development of essential infrastructural facilities and urbanisation. It puts in place the rules for granting compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement to the affected persons.
However, despite the provisions like higher terms of compensation, social impact assessments, and the requirement of prior informed consent for projects involving private sector, the questions of resettlement and rehabilitation still persist.
Infrastructure projects time again acts as an impediment to the land, livelihood and environment. Most often contrary to the provisions of the new law, information regarding the projects is seldom available to affected people. Those who are affected by the projects happen to know the full implications either accidentally or by exercising their right to information (RTI). There lacks clear procedures for getting consent in case of private sector involvement. Still worst, there is complete exemption for state led projects.
Next is the aspect of compensation. Compensation offered does not prevent impoverishment of small, marginal farmers and the landless. Moreover, compensation cannot be offered to compensate security of land and loss of environment and biodiversity.
Topics: GS-III: Land Reforms in India