Land Acquisition Ordinance

land-acquisition-ordinance

It seems that this is the season of ordinances. There are various ordinances that have been introduced in the recent past months. One of them is the land acquisition ordinance.

This ordinance will bring about significant changes in the land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement act, 2013. It will ease restrictions including a “consent clause” which was seen as an encumbrance for power, highways, housing, defence and infrastructure projects and holding up the economy’s growth potential.

CHANGES DUE TO THE ORDINANCE:

REMOVAL OF THE CONSENT CLAUSE AND THE SOCIAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT:

The government has amended Section 10(A) of the Act to expand sectors where assessment and consent will not be required. For those five sectors, the consent clause has been removed. So the government or private individuals/companies will no longer need mandatory 80% consent for land acquisition in those five sectors. . In the earlier law, the assessment was meant to find out how many people will be impacted. So, apart from the land owner, all those who were dependent on the land also needed to be compensated. But the new ordinance ensures that only land owners will be compensated.

EXCEPTION:

According to the finance minister Mr. Arun Jaitley, the mandatory “consent” clause and Social Impact Assessment  will not be applicable if the land is acquired for national security, defence, rural infrastructure including electrification, industrial corridors and housing for the poor including PPP(public private partnership) where ownership of land continues to be vested with the government.

INCLUSION OF 13 ACTS:

The government has balanced out the ordinance by including 13 so far excluded Acts under the Land Acquisition Act. These Acts include the Coal Bearing Areas Acquisition and Development Act 1957, the National Highways Act 1956, Land Acquisition (Mines) Act 1885, Atomic Energy Act 1962, the Indian Tramways Act 1886, the Railways Act 1989, the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958, the Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Act 1962 and the Damodar Valley Corporation Act 1948. The Electricity Act 2003, Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act 1952, the Resettlement of Displaced Persons (Land Acquisition) Act 1948 and the Metro Railways (Construction of Works) Act 1978 are also brought under its purview to provide higher compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement benefits to farmers whose land is being acquired.

COMPENSATION REMAINS THE SAME:

The compensation package remains the same. It is four times the market price for rural and two times for urban land. The government despite pressure from various groups has decided to keep the package intact.

The former bill may have had its heart in the right place, but was too rigid, making it difficult both for industrialists and farmers. In a way, the new ordinance tries to address this problem.

 

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