Fri, 29 Jul 2011 22:59:18 GMT

India moves to make land acquisition transparent, fair

New Delhi: With a spate of controversies and clashes over acquisition of farmland for private projects, the government Friday unveiled a draft bill to make the process transparent and equitable to all stakeholders, notably rural owners, with provisions not only for high compensation but also post-sale rehabilitation.

India moves to make land acquisition transparent, fair

The name: National Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011. The thrust of the draft is on compensation based on market value, not less than twice that in urban areas and not less than six times in rural areas. It also ensures a job in projects, or compensation of Rs.200,000, for a family member of land-seller and tenant.

It also seeks to address the need to balance the concerns of farmers who own land, those whose livelihoods depend on asset being acquired, and industrialisation. The bill is proposed as the first federal law on the twin subject of resettlement and rehabilitation.

While not precluding private companies buying land directly from farmers and others, it, nevertheless, wants to ensure that under no circumstance a multi-cropped, irrigated land is acquired. In recent years, there has been a spate of protests, some even turning violent, over acquisition of farmland for housing and industrial projects, calling for a transparent set of rules that balances the need for industrialisation with the issue of livelihood. "Under our Constitution, land is a State subject, but land acquisition is a Concurrent subject. So far, the basic law governing the land acquisition process has been the Land Acquisition Act, 1894," Ramesh says.

Officials told IANS that with such a deadline, the bill - that has evoked huge interest in the wake of the farmers' stir in Uttar Pradesh backed by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi - will not be introduced in the monsoon session of parliament which starts Aug 1. It says market value of land is what is determined for stamp duty, or average sale price of similar type of land in the vicinity, that is ascertained from the sale deeds entered into in the preceding three years, whichever is high.

For land owners and those whose livelihood depends on land, it calls for subsistence a allowance of Rs.3,000 per month per family for 12 months, and Rs.2,000 per month per family as annuity for 20 years, indexed to inflation. It also says acquirers must provide social infrastructure in the vicinity, with special provisions for affected members of Scheduled Tribes. It also says land must be returned to original owner if not used in five years along with one-fourth of the award amount.

Source: IANS

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