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Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (Land Acquisition Act), 2013

Topics Covered:

  1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  2. Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
  3. Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

 

Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (Land Acquisition Act), 2013

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: Key features of the Act.
  • For Mains: Recent amendments and the issues related.

 

Context: The Supreme Court has asked five states to give their response to a petition filed by social activists questioning the state amendments made to the land acquisition law, which the petitioners claim have diluted the safeguards the central law provides for against forcible acquisition.

 

What’s the issue?

The activists have questioned the changes made to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (Land Acquisition Act), 2013 by Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu. The petitioners have contended that the amendments by the states are identical and go against the “basic structure” of the central law.

  • According to the petition the states amended the act by way of ordinances to exempt broad categories of land projects from consent provisions, social impact assessment, objections by affected citizens and participation of local bodies. Projects exempted are linear category projects such as industrial corridors, expressways, highways etc.
  • Petitioners have challenged the power of the states to introduce such amendments that are conflicting with the central law and want them to be declared as illegal.
  • Petitioners contend that the amendments made by the states were in violation of Article 21, which guarantees the right to live with dignity and personal liberty.

 

Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (LARR Act):

Main features of act:

Clearly defines various types of “public purpose” projects for which, Government can acquire private land.

Acquiring land: For private project, 80% affected families must agree. For PPP project, 70% affected families must agree. Only then land can be acquired.

Social impact assessment: Under Social impact assessment (SIA) even need to obtain consent of the affected artisans, labourers, share-croppers, tenant farmers etc whose (sustainable) livelihood will be affected because of the given project.

Compensation: Compensation proportion to market rates. 4 times the market rate in rural area. 2 times in urban area. Affected artisans, small traders, fishermen etc. will be given one-time payment, even if they don’t own any land.

To ensure food security: Fertile, irrigated, multi-cropped farmland can be acquired only in last resort. If such fertile land is acquired, then Government will have to develop equal size of wasteland for agriculture purpose.

Private entities: If Government acquires the lands for private company- the said private company will be responsible for relief and rehabilitation of the affected people. Additional rehabilitation package for SC/ST owners.

Safeguards: State Governments have to setup dispute settlement Chairman must be a district judge or lawyer for 7 years.

Accountability: Head of the department will be made responsible, for any offense from Government’s side. If project doesn’t start in 5 years, land has to be returned to the original owner or the land bank.  Establishment of Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authority for speedy disposal of disputes.

 

Limitations:

The Central Act of 2013 was brought to give effect to pre-existing fundamental right to livelihood of citizens. It ensures that livelihood will not be taken away unless(i) it is in public interest and that is seen by social impact assessment (ii) The affected citizens are given rehabilitation. The amendments made without considering the above factors will take away fundamental rights of the citizens.

 

Sources: the hindu.