LAND ACQUISITION ACT

Today (17/3/2015) as i write this article (5:50 PM)  , the joint opposition led by Mrs Sonia Gandhi is making its way to the parliament house from Raisina hill  . This rare show of opposition unity is a part of the ongoing campaign against the amendments to The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 ,made by the NDA government through an ordinance in December 2014. To understand the issue  , let us analyze the various land acquisition bills so far.

1.Land Acquisition Act, 1894

The Land Acquisition Act of 1894 came into effect on March 1st 1894 . After independence the law was extended to the rest of India excluding the state of Jammu And Kashmir .The highlights of the bill are:

  • The act is divided into 8 parts , each relating to various procedures involved .
  • Part 2 deals with acquisition which include  preliminary notification in the official gazette by the district Collector , Hearing of objection , Declaration of land for public purposes (after objections are taken into account) , marking out and measuring of land and the final allocation of land .
  • In cases of urgency the collector can acquire the land without any of the following procedures after just 15 days of notification . In case of unforeseen emergency the period can be as short as 48 hours. The quantum of compensation in these cases would be determined by the collector himself.
  • Part 3 explains the reference to the court if compensation was found in adequate .
  • The quantum of compensation depends on – market value and the damage sustained by the owner. But these are to be neglected in urgency .
  • part 5 deals with the payment of compensation.
  • part 7 deals with acquisition of land for companies , which must be public sector enterprises or co operative bodies where the government holding is over 51% of share.

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2 .The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013

This act which came into effect on January 1 , 2014 , was aimed at giving a humane , participative , informed and transparent face to the procedure of land acquisition. The highlights are:

    • It applies to public sector undertakings , infrastructure projects ,public private partnerships and private companies under taking public projects  .
    • For private companies consent of 80% of the affected families is required for acquisition while public private partnerships requires consent of at least 70% of the families.
    • The act is divided into 13 chapters,
    • chapter 2 explains the determination of social impact and public purpose . A social impact assessment study is to be undertaken in consultation with the local government ( panchayats and municipalities ) , which must be made available to the public . The authority responsible for the social impact assessment study must also prepare a social impact management plan to address the impact of the project.
    • The social impact assessment report will be evaluated by an independent multidisciplinary expert group , whose recommendations will be made available to the public.
    • chapter 3 restricts the acquisition of irrigated multi cropped land to safeguard food security.
    • chapter 4 speaks about the notification and acquisition along with the preparation of rehabilitation and resettlement scheme . It also explains the determination of the quantum of compensation along with the guidelines to adjust it to the market value.
    • chapter 5 deals with the rehabilitation and resettlement awards for the affected families , including mandatory employment to the members of such families.special provisions are provided for the SCs and STs .
    • In cases of urgency the collector can acquire the land without any of the following procedures after just 30days of notification . In case of unforeseen emergency the period can be as short as 48 hours.
    • chapter 6 explains the manner and procedure of rehabilitation and resettlement under a commissioner for the purpose.
    • chapter 7 says about the constitution of Monitoring Committees For Rehabilitation and Resettlement at the state and national level.
    • chapter 8 deals with the setting up Land Acquisition , Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authority.
    • chapter 10 explains the payment procedure.
    • If the land acquired remains unutilised for 5 years it would be returned back to the family or to the land bank of appropriate government.
    • The provisions of this Bill shall not apply to acquisitions under 13 existing legislations including the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005, the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, the Railways Act, 1989, etc.

3 The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition,Rehabilitation and Resettlement(Amendment) Ordinance, 2014.

  • The provisions of the Bill was extended to apply to acquisitions under 13 existing legislations including the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005, the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, the Railways Act, 1989, etc.
  • Exemption from social impact assessment , consent and food security provisions for the process of land acquisition for strategic and development activities such as national security or defence of India including preparation for defence and defence production; rural infrastructure including electrification; affordable housing and housing for poor; industrial corridors; infrastructure
    and social infrastructure projects including projects under public private partnership where the ownership of the land continues to vest with the Government .
  • In order to ensure better health and educational facilities in the country, it is proposed to include private hospitals and private educational institutions in the definition of ‘public purpose’.

The amendment is being criticized for taking away the social impact assessment , consent and food security provisions . But the government stands by its decision as it believes these provisions would make the acquisition process faster , without loosing its pro poor appeal. The 2013 act is one of the finest pieces of legislation ever made in the field of land acquisition anywhere in the world , hence it is up to the current government to keep the true essence of that legislation in whatever decision it takes

“THE HINDU” TOUCHES PATHETIC LOWS

With the people unanimously going against their daily dose of left wing ideological classes , THE HINDU touched new lows yesterday when it published a graphic representation of how CPI(M) could have fared better if our founding fathers had opted for proportional representation. If my history lessons are correct it was on the insistence of the left leaning intelligentsia at the time of independence that the system we have today was adopted and it was under the guidance of Pandit Nehru it blossomed.  what made Mr Ram and his colleagues to question our system all of a sudden? was it the emphatic win of  the BJP? or the decimation of the left ?? As a regular subscriber of the daily the second one seems to be the reason . The need for an electoral reform was first mooted on the may 16th by Mr D Raja of the CPI on NDTV which , the moderated Prannoy Roy brushed aside casually .Ironically it was discussed at great lengths the next few days in the “National newspaper”. The reports were overflowing with “expert opinions” made by the guardian angels of our democracy –  the “intelligentsia”  for the “much needed ” change as they were finding it hard to come to terms with the fact that the CPI was no longer a national party and was on the verge of losing their coveted party symbol .  “THE HINDU” , which left no stones unturned in berating the right , often equating Modi to Hitler , was seen going into a tizzy after may 16th , Not a single article was published appreciating the victorious team while the editorials were dedicated to the “QUEENS WITHOUT THRONES”  – J Jayalalitha and Mamta banerjee , The next day they went a step further by advising Mr  Modi on “how to rule” and published the much controversial article by Mr Gopal Krishna Gandhi.Prejudices it seem run too long in this family held newspaper , It took them 6 days to come to terms with what happened and they indirectly appreciated BJP’s achievements on the OP-ED page on 22/5/14 (today).

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My dad says that “THE HINDU” was actually the “national newspaper” in his college days, I too remember good impartial articles in the past , but the last two years was when it became the mouthpiece of the left . We know left is a dwindling species in India and their voices need to be preserved for a functioning democracy , but being a mouthpiece for them and calling yourself a “national newspaper” is sarcastic. There is a huge space for a national newspaper that gives unbiased and relevant news , which is what is expected from “THE HINDU” . There is going to be an upsurge of the right after the elections , we readers expect Hindu  to be neutral in such a situation . Hence the news paper must  shed its leftist approach and bring us stories which reinforce your  tag of  being “THE NATIONAL NEWSPAPER”.

foot note;

CPI(M) lost because of its inability to adapt with changing times and be fossilized in the 60s , how else can you describe a party chief who is a malayali speaking in English at Ottapalam (his home district) using a translator , Mr Karat , its time you admit the fact that you are just an intellectual and not a mass leader. coming to malayalees speaking English even Shashi Tharoor speaks fluent malayalam these days ( may be that is why he won).

HOW MUCH LEFT IS TOO LEFT?

THE HINDU have been a regular part of my life for almost 11 years .i still remember the first copy that my dad brought for me at shornur bus stand , at the time when the afghan invasion was at its peak. the news paper have made me open up to a new world outside the chauvinistic malayali universe of manorama , the editorials are the masterpiece and my vocabulary  on the blog is mostly thanks to its articulate use of words. the impartial take on most issues have always been its forte , even ready to take on the king of frauds – sharad pawar  . the  things i always resented were the leftist and tamil propaganda  it dishes out. the sheer weightage  it gives to the ramblings of the CPM , MDMK and CPI , which are all but minor players at the national level at the expense of the more popular parties is a dichotomy to its egalitarian stand. this leftist stance was all but visible in the articles it published on the anniversary of the 1962 war , they were pro chinese to the extent that some of them solely blamed nehru for its outbreak . the pro tamil agenda and the open opposition of srilankan president mahinda rajapakshe and his efforts to reunite the war torn country is unwarranted , even though the final days of military action were unjust from a civilian point of view.

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the left leaning publications of the group have never really gotten over the fact that the red bloc have fallen decades ago and the largest communist state is more capitalist than ours . the nostalgic tone with which it pays tribute to the  soviet era is all but evident from the fervent with which it bashes the “imperialistic” united states   .  the Beijing bureau headed by the scion of the group irritates you the most with the chinese national anthem he renders on a daily basis ,  yes china is the future , we all must recognize that bitter fact , but it must not be over our national interests. if you glance the articles it becomes very clear that communism is the only way out of the bourgeois parties that rule us  , this outright patronization in the form of leftist  tilt is and will remain the only black mark on the earnest initiative that is “THE HINDU”. the group must realize that being impartial doesn’t mean it has to be  anti establishment , a more just society within the folds of what we have  is what we , the people  want.