All you need to know about the 'Land acquisition bill' – part 1. Why the bill?

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Why this bill and the condition of application?
Land acquisition has been one of the most sensitive issues in India. It has been a hornets nest for quite sometime now. Many people claim that CPI lost West Bengal because of it, and it created major rows in states like Orissa, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh etc.

The Ministry of Rural Development shared the first draft on the 'Draft of Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011', on July 27, 2011 for feedback. (The first draft is available here – http://www.rural.nic.in/Final.pdf)

Now that the cabinet committee has passed it, it will be taken up for discussion in the parliament on Wednesday, September 6, 2011. It is also the last working day of the Monsoon Session, and then matter will be directed to the Standing Committee for scrutiny. A meeting of the national development council comprising of chief ministers will be called in October. The bill will be presented in the Lok Sabha when the Winter Session starts on November 9, 2011.

The bill draft: According to reports, the bill to be presented in the parliament is 90% of what was placed online by the Rural Development Ministry. So here we present you all that you need to know on the bill

Why the bill?

There is heightened concern on land acquisition issues. In the absence of a national law for the resettlement, rehabilitation, and compensation for loss of livelihood, has led to stand-off between the parties involved.

The bill tends to address the livelihood concerns of the dependent while ensuring that the development, industrialization and urbanization projects are also addressed at the same time.

When will both Land Acquisition (LA) and Rehabilitation and Resettlement (R&R) Provisions will apply?

This is the most important aspect of the bill, and it has been clearly demarcated.

1. Government acquires land for its own use, hold and control
2. Government acquires land with the ultimate purpose to transfer it for the use of private companies for stated public purpose
(including PPP projects but other than national highway projects)
3. Government acquires land for immediate and declared use by private companies for public purpose
The interesting part lies in the note of this section, if a government acquires land for a public-private-partnership (PPP) or for a public purpose which will be developed by a private company then the stated purpose cannot be changed.

Also such projects can only take off if minimum of 80% of the families affected by the project give their connect for the proposed acquisition.

Where will the only Rehabilitation and Resettlement (R&R) provisions apply?

There are two situation where the provisions of Rehabilitation and Resettlement will apply. They are as following.

1. Private companies buy land, equal to or more than 100 acres, on their own;
2. Private company approaches Government for partial acquisition for public purpose.

But there is also a small caveat built in this that the Government will not acquire the land for either private companies for private purposes as in the case of Singur and other major projects. Nor will the government acquire a multi-crop irrigated land for public purposes.

Read more about: economy, land acquisition, bill draft
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