Everything you wanted to know about the coming law
Manoj Kumar | October 3, 2011
The much publicised National Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011 has wheels within wheels. The bill is uniquely prepared as it consolidated the provisions of acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement on one single platform.
Some key FAQs on the bill are as follows:
1. What is the add-on in the definition of ‘Person Interested’ over the Land Acquisition Act, 1894?
The term “Person Interested” is to now include tribals and other traditional forest dwellers who have lost any traditional rights and a person having tenancy rights under the relevant state laws.
2. What is ‘Public Purpose’ for acquisition of land under the Bill?
The term "public purpose" for land acquisition within India provide for the following:
(i) the provision of land for strategic purposes relating to naval, military, air force and armed forces of the union or any work vital to national security or defence of India or state police, safety of the people;
(ii) the provision of land for infrastructure, industrialisation and urbanisation projects of the appropriate government, where the benefits largely accrue to the general public;
(iii) the provision of village or urban sites, acquisition of land for the project affected people, planned development or improvement of village sites, provision of land for residential purpose to the poor, government administered educational and health schemes,
(iv) the provision of land for any other purpose useful to the general public, including land for companies, for which at least 80 percent of the project affected people have given their consent through a prior informed process; provided that where a private company after having purchased part of the land needed for a project, for public purpose, seeks the intervention of the appropriate government to acquire the balance of the land it shall be bound by rehabilitation and resettlement provisions of this Act for the land already acquired through private negotiations and it shall be bound by all provisions of this Act for the balance area sought to be acquired.
(v) the provision of land 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 government, any local authority or a corporation owned or controlled by the State".
This definition of "public purpose" or common good therefore destroys the distinction between private use and public use. In effect, the following are the public purposes for which the bill shall be effective:
- Acquisition of land for purposes relating to the armed forces of India, national security or defence, police, safety of the people;
- Acquisition of land for railways, highways, ports, power and irrigation purposes for use by government or by government controlled corporations (also known as public sector companies);
- Acquisition of land for planned development or improvement of village or urban sites or for residential purpose to weaker sections of society in rural or urban areas;
- Acquisition of land for government administered educational, agricultural, health and research schemes or institutions;
- Acquisition of land for persons residing in areas affected by natural calamities;
- Acquisition of land for resettlement of affected people for any of the above government projects;
- Acquisition of land by the government for public-private-partnership projects for the production of public goods or the provision of public services;
- Acquisition of land for private companies for the production of public goods or provision of public services
When government declares public purpose and shall control the land directly, consent of the land owner shall not be required. However, when the government acquires the land on behalf of public sector companies or for private companies, bill proposes that the consent of at least 80% of the project affected families shall be obtained through a prior informed process before government uses its power under the Bill to acquire the remaining land for public good.
3. Does this bill apply to acquisition of land by private companies?
The provisions of the bill apply to acquisition of land by private companies in the following cases:
i. Private companies purchase or acquire land, equal to or more than 100 acres, on their own
ii. A private company approaches the appropriate government for partial acquisition of an area so identified for a public purpose.
4. What is the compensation for land acquisition under the bill?
The compensation for land acquisition under the bill will not be less than twice the market value in Urban and not less than six times the original market value in rural area. In case of acquisition of land from scheduled tribe owners, an additional 75% compensation is payable.
5. What will be the compensation for land acquisition under the urgency clause?
In case of land acquisition under urgency clause, the compensation for land acquisition is seventy five percent of market value over and above the market value determined by the collector.
6. What is the scope and ambit of the ‘urgency clause’ for acquisition of land under the bill?
The acquisition of land in cases of urgency applies to acquisition of land for the defence of India or National Security or for any emergencies arising out of natural calamities provided these powers will be used in rarest of rare case.
7. What are the other salient features of the bill?
• The bill provides for “Social Impact Assessment” to give due consideration to the impact on the society for consideration of the proposed land acquisition, which was altogether not present in the present Land Acquisition Act,1894. However, the assessment of social impact provisions which is to be performed by Expert Group will not be applicable during the urgency clause.
• The bill provides for the constitution of Rehabilitation and Resettlement Committee at project level which will monitor and review the progress of implementation of the rehabilitation and resettlement scheme.
• The bill also provides for the dispute resolution mechanism both at the state and centre level to provide quick remedy and to make the whole process more efficient and also the establishment of State/National Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Dispute Settlement Authority.
8. What is the effect of cost of acquisition of land under the bill (over the provisions of the presently effective land Acquisition Act, 1894)?
Cost of acquisition increases by almost 6 times under the Bill over the cost of acquisition of land under the Act of 1894. This increase could reflect in increase in project costs of various industrial and infrastructure projects requiring more than 100 acres of land. For example, as per initial estimates, the cost implications for the power projects (for illustration) are estimated to rise up to 25%.
We will follow with specific insights on the impact of the bill on various industries and stakeholders in the coming weeks.
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