To address this, the draft of the new Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011, will be taken up in the parliament on Wednesday, September 7, 2011.
The draft has looked into all aspects from defining the terms 'affected families', 'public purpose' and to compensation based on rural and urban areas.
As the bill is taken up for discussion by the parliamentary committee, there will be a lot of hue and cry that the compensation is unfair or more, although we are of the view that it is fair.
Land Valuation: A customary inquiry of land prices and mode of payment throughout the country will reveal that in most parts, land or rather property is the source of parallel economy. The instances where builders say that they will take anywhere between 30-70% money in unaccounted form or put it bluntly as 'black money' is common. So the real value of the land or building is never accounted on paper because that would increase the tax. Therefore keeping this aspect of our current economy in mind, the compensation is not unfair.
R&R Dissected: The Rehabilitation and Resettlement (R&R) bill have two major parts. While in the first part the entire focus is for land owners in general, in the second section the special provisions for ST was made. After going through the provisions made for ST, it was clear that the draft intends to address an aspect of the Naxal issue as well. At one hand we will have to agree that all of these measures put together the cost of the land acquisition for the private players, on the other hand if the rules are not subverted and the spirit of the draft is maintained, then in a long-run, it will benefit the country and all the participants.
Dealing with scam: The bill has even looked into the aspect of dealing with officials caught in the act of utilizing the act for their personal interests. Such officials will be dealt under the Act that deals with the mala fide action.
Anyone found trying to claim the benefits on false and misleading premise will be fined up to one lakh rupees or they will be imprisoned up to a month. Also appropriate authorities should recover the benefit from those who obtain the Rehabilitation and Resettlement benefits on false information.
Demerits of the bill. One the flip side, the fair value of the land will be decided by the collector which will leave a lot of options for creating discrepancy.
Also it should be either inflation indexed or there should be a built in clause where in all compensation will be reviewed every two years or five years. So from one side of the prism, the cost is high but going forward, it will become either an election point or the amount will not have any meaning five years down the line considering current rate of inflation, which is around 9%.
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