Wednesday 11 March 2015

Land Acquisition Bill 2015: SIMPLIFIED

Facts you need to know on the Land Acquisition Bill 2015:

The popularly known Land Acquisition Bill 2015 was amended to replace an Ordinance on February 24, 2015 was . The official name of the bill stands as 'The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015'.

Here's what FM Jaitley spoke about the bill before the Union Budget:

The 2013 bill has faced criticism from the industry as the land acquisition process had become tedious leading to projects worth 20 lakh crores getting stuck. Government in its bid to give boost to the manufacturing sector and removing bottlenecks to attract investments wants to amend the existing law to make the land acquisition easier.

 The amendments to the Land Bill are :-

Change to the public purpose:

Back in 2013: The Bill had amended the Act to include acquisition of land for private hospitals and private educational institutions within the definition of public purpose.

Now: The amendments remove this provision of the Bill. This implies that acquisition of land for private hospitals and private educational institutions is no longer included within the definition public purpose.

Changes to five categories of exempted projects

As per FM Arun Jaitley, the Land Acquisition Act, 2013 was a defective piece of legislation. He also went for the to say that the Act had anomalies, some of which had affected national security projects. He said that while land acquired for 13 special purposes had been exempted from the need to obtain the consent of landowners and a social impact assessment (SIA), national security and defence did not figure in the list.

Now, the Amendment has allowed the government to exempt five categories of projects viz; i) defence, (ii) rural infrastructure, (iii) affordable housing, (iv) industrial corridors, and (v) infrastructure and social infrastructure.

These categories have been exempted of: (i) Social Impact Assessment, (ii) limits on acquisition of irrigated multi-cropped land, through a notification, and (iii) consent provisions that, as per FM were time consuming and had put the development of the country on a standstill.

A farmer works in a wheat field against the backdrop of residential apartments undergoing construction in Noida on the outskirts of New Delhi.

Now, the amendments make the following changes to this provision:

·        Industrial corridors: The amendments clarify that land acquired for industrial corridors will be for industrial corridors set up by the government and government undertakings. Further, land can be acquired up to 1 km on both sides of the designated railway line or road of the industrial corridor.

·   Social infrastructure: The amendment removes social infrastructure as an exempted category.

Changes to Social Impact Assessment and limits on irrigated multi-cropped land:

The Bill allows the government to exempt the above five categories of projects from SIA and limits on irrigated land, through a notification. The amendments add that before issuing this notification, the government must ensure that the extent of land being acquired is in keeping with the minimum land required for such a project.

Survey of wasteland:

The amendments add that the government must conduct a survey of its wasteland including arid land, and maintain a record containing details of such land, as may be prescribed by the government.

Apart from national security, the amendments are expected to bring rural infrastructure, affordable housing, industrial corridors, and infrastructure projects, including PPP projects in which government owns the land, in the special category that does not require consent of the landowners or SIA.

Changes to rehabilitation and resettlement:

Under the Act, the rehabilitation and resettlement award for each affected family include mandatory employment for the members of the family.

The amendments change this provision to ensure compulsory employment to at least one member of such an affected family of a farm labourer .

Offences by government employees:

The amendments state that the government employee can be prosecuted if procedure laid down in Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is followed. Section 197 requires the prior sanction of the government prior to prosecuting a public servant.

Read the full Bill on -

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