The main objective behind the proposed law on land acquisition is to provide a fairer, transparent process and proper measures for rehabilitation of the people who suffered loss due to compulsory land acquisition. In most of the cases the affected persons are disadvantaged groups and weaker sections of the society for whom the land is the only source of livelihood. The most important drawback of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 is the absence of a remedy against compulsory land acquisition will be addressed in the proposed law. The law will be implemented with retrospective effect and entertain cases where no land acquisition award has been made.
The new Bill discourages acquisition of multi crop irrigated lands but in extreme circumstance it may be acquired to a limited extent as per specific state laws and a long-term sustenance plan for the affected families with a necessary consent requirement before acquisition and deciding compensation in governmental and PPP acquisitions 70 and 80 % respectively is mandatory to ensure food security. The time bound Social Impact Assessment involving experts, the local panchayat, municipality or municipal corporation, as the case may be is also mandated before acquisition. The Bill guarantees, a tax free minimum compensation of up to 4 times the market value of the land acquired in rural areas and up to 2 times the market value of land acquired in urban areas including a sum of 100 per cent amount as solatium. There are also other checks and balances that have been inbuilt into the Bill include appreciation sharing in case of land being sold off without implementation of the intended project.
The Bill is already passed by Rajya Sabha on 4th Sept, 2013 and awaiting president’s assent. This law will prevent forced acquisition and exploitation of the poor, tribals, farmers and labour forces. Who have suffered a lot due to the current draconian law of the Land Acquisition Act; 1894.The Bill proposes a fair deal to the disadvantaged groups in terms of the prescribed compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement measures. More importantly, it provides them a say in the process which was lacking. It is also expected that the Bill may eliminate Maoist influence in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Orissa in next five to six year. But only the time will tell us whether the Bill really offers what it promises, a fair and transparent legal framework for land acquisition resulting in fast tracking of the laggardly public infrastructure development.