What is Land Acquisition
The acquisition of land is the power of the union or the state government of India to acquire private land for the purposes of industrialization, construction of infrastructure or urbanisation of private land, and to compensate the landowners concerned for their reconstruction and resettlement.
In India land acquisition is in the picture by set of rules.
the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, placed under British rule
the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2013 issued by the Unified Progressive Alliance (UPA) Legislature, which varied in many ways from the Act of 1894;
the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement ordinance 2015 which was introduced by National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in 2015.
India’s land procurement system is at a crossroads. The statute that was used to purchase land from colonial times — the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 (amended in 1962 and 1984)—can no longer be enforced because of popular opposition. Many significant state and business people consider land acquisition to be the “biggest challenge” in India’s growth road. A new Legislation on Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) was drawn up in mid-2011 and the Parliamentary Standing Committee Report (PSCR) on LARR was issued in May 2012.
When Narendra Modi’s government came in to power, they made 9 key amendments to 2013 land acquisition act of India.
The 2013 Act focuses not only on the awarding of compensation to landowners, but also on the extension of rehabilitation and relocation benefits to land-losers, in addition to the minimum compensation. A variety of market value and other considerations laid down in the Act are the basis for the minimum compensation to be paid to the land owners. The Act prevents or controls the acquisition of land if the acquisition involves a multi-crop irrigated field.
The Act modified the land acquisition requirements for the use of private corporations or for public-private partnerships, including the required consent of 80% of landowners. The Act also incorporated reforms to the process of land acquisition, including a compulsory review of social effects, which must be carried out before an acquisition is made.
The new legislation also has some significant deficiencies with respect to its provisions on socio-economic impact assessment and has also bypassed statutory local self-governments by failing to recognise them as ‘appropriate governments’ in land acquisition matters.
Objectives of LARR as provided in the Act, the Union or State Government can obtain land for its own use, ownership and regulation, including for public sector undertakings and for ‘public purposes,’ and shall have the following purposes:
for strategic purposes relating to naval, military, air force, and armed forces of the Union, including central paramilitary forces or any work vital to national security or defence of India or State police, safety of the people;
for infrastructure projects as defined under the Act;
project for project affected families;
project for housing for such income groups, as may be specified from time to time by the appropriate Government;
project for planned development or the improvement of village sites or any site in the urban areas or provision of land for residential purposes for the weaker sections in rural and urban areas;
project for residential purposes to the poor or landless or to persons residing in areas affected by natural calamities, or to persons displaced or affected by reason of the implementation of any scheme undertaken by the Government, any local authority or a corporation owned or controlled by the State.
The land can be acquired for private bodies for certain purposes:
for public private partnership projects, where the ownership of the land continues to vest with the Government, for public purpose as defined in the Act;
for private companies for public purpose.
On March 10, 2015, the contentious changes to the Land Acquisition Act were eventually approved by the Lok Sabha after being heavily criticised by both the opposition parties and the government’s own allies. Once the Bill of Amendment – Right to Equal Compensation and Accountability in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill 2015 (‘2015 Law’) – becomes a statute, it would be easier for the government to purchase private land for public purposes and corporations.
One alternate plan for land acquisition is to lease land from homeowners for a certain lease term. Proponents cite how land acquisition strategies by policymakers inadvertently promote rampant land ownership that makes developments costly, as a substantial majority of the budget will have to be diverted to land acquisition costs. According to them, land procurement practises have given way to political cronyism, where land is cheaply purchased by gaining favours from local governments and sold to businesses at steep price mark-ups. Leasing property can also promote sustainable project growth, as the property has to be returned to the homeowners at the conclusion of the lease term in a state close to its original form, with substantial environmental deterioration. When the property is rented, someone who otherwise needs to give up land or livelihoods will be paid for its growing value over time. In this model, the landowner lends his land to the government for a gradual rise in rent, or in an annuity-based scheme, as is currently followed in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
Another package is already developed for any growth initiative is called benefit-sharing and is based on the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Equal and Egalitarian Sharing of Benefits arising from their use of the Convention on Biological Diversity, also known as the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing.
Thousands of Indians are displaced each year in the name of growth. Development is intended for any stratum of society, but these development projects only support those stratums of society. It appears like construction work has made rich get richer and poor get poorer.
The Land Acquisition Act is one of the most contentious enactments since British India. While several modifications have been made since then, there are no major changes to the original legislation of 1894. Today, the government has absolute authority on how the property can be purchased and the compensation made to the victims