135 online
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 20 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/22/15

Land Acquisition Bill takes away rights of farmers and pits them against 'Make in India'

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   No comments
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Citizen News Service - CNS
Become a Fan
  (2 fans)
Dr Rahul Pandey and Dr Sandeep Pandey, Citizen News Service - CNS

Since the past several months we have seen the NDA government aggressively pushing through changes in land acquisition policy, first in the form of Ordinance in December 2014 and then, as it was passed as a Bill with nine changes in Lok Sabha but faced roadblock in Rajya Sabha, re-promulgating it before its expiry in April 2015. With the government calling the Bill pro-farmer and pro-development and most of opposition parties and social activists opposing it as anti-farmer, it is useful to sieve through the noise and look at the changes proposed and what existed earlier.

The 1894 Land Acquisition Act and cost of development-induced displacement

Until now all land acquisitions in India were being done under the colonial Land Acquisition Act of 1894. That Act allowed the governments to acquire huge lands for so called 'public purpose' and industrialization, but did not give any say to the farmers in the process. Therefore rapid growth of industries and infrastructure in the past several decades saw forcible evictions of farmers and tribals from their lands and forests. Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN (WGHR) reported in 2012 that since independence 60-65 million people are estimated to have been displaced by development projects. Majority of these are farmers, including tribals, dalits and other rural poor. Although the industrial and infrastructure projects contributed to India's economic growth, the farmers and others previously dependent on land and later uprooted were never consulted or made participants in the development process.

The 2013 Land Acquisition Act: A partial step towards democratic process

The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation (Amendment) Act brought in by the UPA government in 2013 was an imperfect attempt to resolve the conflicts. However it was a significant step that gave a negotiating right to the farmer in the process of his/her land being acquired for private companies or public-private-partnership (PPP) projects. The 2013 Act mandated that consent of 80% of affected land losers in case of private projects and 70% in case of PPP projects is required. It also required that Social Impact Assessment (SIA) is to be carried out by the government before acquisition. SIA included assessment of impacts on potential land losers, the landless, and the environment. The 2013 Act also increased the rates of compensation to four times the market rate for rural land and twice for urban land. In order not to disrupt food security the Act prescribed that agricultural land be acquired within certain limit and multi-crop land be avoided as far as possible.

However there were several major gaps in the 2013 Act. For example, 13 of the 16 Acts under which forcible land acquisition is possible were still not covered under the new compensation, resettlement and rehabilitation measures prescribed in it, and government projects still did not require consent and SIA.

Amendments made by NDA to the 2013 Act: Undoing of democratic process

The Ordinance for amending the 2013 Act introduced by the NDA government in December 2014 (re-promulgated in April 2015), and presented as a Bill in February 2015 with some amendments made in March 2015, has undone almost all positive achievements of 2013 Act for the sake of easing up procedures for private industry and facilitating 'make in India' campaign.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Valuable 2   Must Read 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Citizen News Service - CNS Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Citizen News Service (CNS) specializes in in-depth and rights-based, health and science journalism. For more information, please contact: www.citizen-news.org or @cns_health or www.facebook.com/cns.page
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Management of respiratory diseases beyond drugs: Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Oxygen therapy is like a prescription drug: Use it rationally

New funding boosts research for controlling TB, malaria, dengue and leishmaniasis

Progress made but work remains on firewalling health policy from tobacco industry

Youth Changemakers at the forefront of advocating for sexual health and rights

A bouquet of novel compounds: New treatment options for HIV

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend