With all the political discord surrounding the Land Acquisition bill, you may be wondering what is land acquisition bill all about ?
The land acquisition in India was governed by the land bill act of 1894- a legacy of the British Raj. In 2013 the UPA government totally revamped the old land bill of 1894 and passed the Land Acquisition Bill 2013 (which is officially known as Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement Act or simply LARR Act 2013). Though the Land Acquisition bill of 2013 seemed to be pro farmer in spirit but in practice due to its difficult provisions, the bill was unable effect fair and efficient land acquisition.
Land Acquisition Bill – Background
The LARR 2013 was also seen as a very anti-industry legislation due to the provisions surrounding the requirement of 80% consent from the land owners for land acquisition. Moreover SIA (Social Impact assessment) was forced upon the parties that were interested in acquiring land. Such provisions made acquiring land quickly for industry, Infrastructure and national security almost impossible and the different parties interested in land acquisition started putting undue and unlawful pressure on the land owners to give their consent. This led to corruption and hindered quick economic growth.
In 2014 when the NDA came to power they tried to improve the existing land acquisition bill of 2013 so that it can lead to quick and fair land acquisition. The NDA introduced a new bill in the Lok Sabha to amend the necessary changes to the LARR 2013. This bill came to be known as the Land Acquisition Bill 2015. The bill proposed many changes but these changes brought heavy criticism from various political parties as well as farmer lobbies. So what are those changes which were mentioned in the original land acquisition bill 2015?
Land Acquisition Bill , 2015
The key points of the original LARR Act 2015 (land acquisition bill 2015) are as follows:
- The bill would create 5 categories of projects, namely, (i) defence (ii) rural infrastructure, (iii) affordable housing,(iv) industrial corridors, and (v) infrastructure and social infrastructure including Public Private Partnership projects where the government owns the land.
- The Bill Exempted the projects under these 5 categories from prerequisite of taking 80% and 70% consent from landowners for private and PPP projects respectively, which was made mandatory for all land acquisitions by the Land Acquisition bill of 2013 (LARR Act 3013)
- Projects under these five groups mentioned above would be further exempted from conducting SIA (Social Impact Assessment), which was mainly done to find the social impacts on the people of the area where the land is being acquired.
- The bill proposed to bring the provisions for remuneration, resettlement and rehabilitation under thirteen related land acquisition Acts, like National Highways Act and the Railways Act, be brought in consonance with that of Land Acquisition Act (LARR Act 2015)
- The 5 exempted categories of projects would be exempted from the restrictions on irrigated multi-crop lands that were imposed by the land acquisition bill of 2013 (the LARR Act 2013).
- Land acquisition for educational institutions & private hospitals which was excluded from the LARR Act 2013 was to be included under the ambit of the LARR Act 2015.
- It planned to remove a provision in the LARR Act 2013 under which the head of a government department would be responsible if an offence is committed by any employee of a government department. Now it would require a prior sanction from the government to prosecute a government employee under the section 197 under the code of criminal procedure of 1973.
So these are the key points of the original ordinance/land acquisition bill of 2015 (the LARR Act 2015) which was introduced in the Lok Sabha. These very points created quite a ruckus in the parliament as members of various parties were against these changes. The whole political storm surrounding the Land acquisition bill is because of these above mentioned points.