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

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INDIA’S OCEAN

Prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the two Indian ocean island nations of Seychelles and Mauritius may not have got the media buzzing . But strategically speaking , they are by far the most important ones he have undertaken . As our aspirations are expected to grow over the years , a better relation with our Indian ocean neighbors could prove a game changer in the long run . We are the only country in the world to have an ocean named after us , though the nomenclature may be accidental , geography has it that there is not a single landmass of notable size south of kanyakumari , making us the prime care taker and possibly the potential benefactor of its resources . With the rising east , the trade through this route is only set to increase , making us not just a global power but a significant player in the future multipolar world.

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The primary objective  of any nation is self preservation , with hostile neighbors to the north and west , India cannot have its coastline left undefended . unlike the pacific or the atlantic oceans , the level of militarization of the Indian ocean is still low , Though this could facilitate uninterrupted  free trade but in the longer run it could have fatal as seen with the rising piracy over the horn of Africa .T The united states and Britain do have a military base at Diego garcia in the Indian ocean , but the assertion of power over the entire region was limited, china was the first to initiate a long term military cum trade agenda for the region through the “string of pearls ” initiative . India had never shied away from showing its unease at the opening of a potential hostile front in the south , with the conflict over the control  of the south china sea now heating up ,  India  is compelled to assert itself in the region through its own security initiative. The SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) initiative , aimed at greater engagement with the Indian ocean region was initiated by The Prime Minister , under which the Indian government have signed MoUs for the development of assumption island( Seychelles) and agalela island  (Mauritius)  as trade and defense outposts . The Prime Minister’s visit also coincided with Seychelles and India launching a Coastal Surveillance Radar Project and commissioning of Barracuda into the service of the Coast Guard of Mauritius ,  our first steps to ensure maritime security in the region.

Indian ocean could indeed be India’s ocean if we could use its abundant resources to fulfill our growing demands , The blue economy project aimed at harnessing these resources was extended to these countries , so that our interests are met without harming the nations over the ocean’s rim nor the ocean’s ecology. our passive demeanor over the race for arctic resources has already put us in the back foot . A similar situation in the Indian ocean will be unacceptable , hence pioneering the blue economy initiative to explore the bounties of the ocean is the right step towards India’s resource self sufficiency.

The prime minister’s previous foreign visits were more hyped than the one discussed above , yet his subtle initiatives this time are going to reap huge dividends in the future for India as a nation.

THE MEN BEHIND THE IDOLS

Indians have no dearth of gods .we have 330 million of them accumulated over 5000 years  and a few hundreds who got inducted recently . But the interesting fact is that once they cross the threshold of divinity , these erstwhile human beings  loss  all their human attributes and become objects of unconditional worship .If  anyone dared to dissect their life on a humanly scale he is subjected to inquisition ,labelled heretic and ex communicated . This remains the standard  procedure to silence those out of pitch voices who tries to examine the authenticity of fables woven around ancient figures or those surrounding  post modern gods like Gandhi and Nehru.

For those of you who may not be familiar with the evolution of Krishna cult centered around lord Krishna , it would be interesting to find that the Krishna we worship today is derived from three stories .one centered around an ancient king named Krishna from 1000 BCE , a folk hero named vasudeva from 200 BCE   and a vedic god named vishnu . If we look at Lord Krishna as a man , the most striking feature would be his mastery of realpolitik which was  instrumental in turning a family feud into  a war of epic proportions . This shrewdness and manipulation tactics of his, made him the favorite of bards who retold the legendary puru war a million times , With the absorption of the vasudeva cult centered around Mathura he became a folk hero and ultimately the god with him being identified as vedic vishnu . once this man attained godliness his imperfections were brushed aside or polished to be made compatible with the new stature . Hence his is thirst for power was renamed karma and his follies became dharma .  Even with all these reinventions over the years he shows human vulnerabilities through out the epic  the dilemmas he faced at the face of total annihilation in front of a magadhan army led by jarasandha , his brilliant military tactics throughout the Mahabharata war which in all cases sacrificed ethics for victory and most importantly as a political mastermind who won the war without even fighting.

This phenomenon of bestowing divinity to men still continues , post independence it was  Mahatma Gandhi’s turn . Gandhi is portrayed today on a scale which is nothing short of what  lord krishna enjoys , A human being with all the godly features who always took the right decisions , even it meant calling off mass agitations just when they were to bear fruits . But if we remove the veil we could find a whole new person to whom we can all relate to .we could easily relate to a man who was a staunch supporter of the empire (the system) , slowly discovering himself to become its greatest nemesis ,  But we rarely get to see that part of him in popular narrations. But why bestow godliness to every one ? Divinity was a weapon employed during medieval times when rationality was a taboo and banned , but today the times have changed we respect imperfections . The current hue and cry over Pandit Nehru could be seen as the final step of him attaining divinity . . The Nehruvian historians and the congress party must accept Pandit Nehru for who he was and not as what they think of him , His not so appreciable record in the economic front and the biased  foreign policy cannot be whitewashed . Even with these  he will be remembered as the man who built India brick by brick .

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“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).

SECTION 377 , THE KHOBRAGADES AND BJP

the two big parties in our country differ little in most aspects except the fact that the Bharatiya Janata Party’s emphasize more on Hindu conservatism. over time i have come to this conclusion that the party is thoroughly confused about what these traditional values are , the most recent being its reactions to the section 377 of the IPC and the khobragade affair.The party  which is trying hard  to parade itself as the “republican party” of India is virtually xeroxing the manifesto of the grand old party of the United States. First was the cultural chauvinism , then the love for free market and now it is homophobia , It is high time that the party re invent itself on Indian lines than blindly copying the western model of conservatism . The conservatism outside India is backed by monotheistic religions and cultures .They attend the Sunday mass , eat turkey on thanks giving for killing native Americans and shoot each other without provocation. India from the ancient times was plural in every sense of the word , whether it be faith , culture or sexuality . The third gender and homosexuality were a well accepted aspect of Indian life since antiquity , especially when we were at the zenith of cultural and scientific achievements. The homophobic stand taken by the party is utterly against the teachings of this ancient civilization , where epics praise Arjuna  for his one year stint as a transgender in Mahabharata and  In Kerala it is believed that Lord  Ayyapa was born from the union of Lord shiva and Lord vishnu  . It is ignorance that made Mr  Rajnath Singh call the whole issue a western import , but sadly it is the BJP’S  version of conservatism which reinforces Victorian values which are alien to thecountry.

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BJP’S stand on Devyani Khobragade issue is another ill placed decision . The Khobrgades as a family is still a mystery  , though  they own properties worth crores of rupees they were caught for under paying their maid and are now shouting their innocence from television studios , yes the way Dr Devyani was treated goes against the diplomatic immunities enjoyed by her , but siding yourself with a family which have corruption labelled all over itself will not go down well with ardent fans of Mr Modi . For millions Mr Modi is the messiah of change  ,but making statements in chorus with congress in support of the family  on this issue is a huge let down .

WHY MODI MUST WIN

yesterday cnn ibn – the hindu exit pole predicted a hung parliament in 2014 . though bjp is expected to emerge the largest party , the chances of it making the government is slim. which will automatically give congress another chance at the centre which will be a catastophe. hence it is important that mr modi must win and here are some of the reasons why –mod

1. congress is too arrogant and it thinks it to be their birthright to rule this nation

2.the so called youth power in congress is nothing but a bunch of elite parachuted from the top. rahul gandhi will no doubt be the next rajiv gandhi – clueless at the top.

3.the hereditary factor – rahul will virtually turn india into the longest running monarchy in asia.

4 . for the clean image of mr modi as far as corruption goes . one more cabinet with these faces ……. never

5. mr modi is a self made man. he could be a role model for many with no family connections.

6. he is neither a brahmin nor a kshatriya which is a big relief , as this country had just a handfull of leaders from other casts.

7 its better to have on your face communalism than the shadow one that we have , with fake encounters and counter fake encounters.

as you all must have noted my main reason for supporting him is him being  anti congress and anti gandhi clan. though he have a whole lot of other darker aspects to him , i think he is a better option mr rahul gandhi.

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