Why Land Acquisition is the need of the hour for India?

March 25, 2015

BJP came into power with the promise of development and generating employment for the growing masses. The moment BJP came into power our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ensured to get into business from day 1 of office and reduce the Red Tapism in the decision making. BJP has been in the forefront in taking the boldest decisions and introducing the reforms.

BJP stands for the principles of Country first, Party Second and self last. During the previous regime not many projects pertaining to the defence were undertaken but the moment BJP came into power it ensured that it launched the “Make in India” campaign to make India the manufacturing hub and also cleared of all the defence Projects which have been in the backburner compromising the India’s security have been cleared. With the “Make in India” and the effort to make in India with the transfer of technology, the recently introduced draft of Land Acquisition Bill in the Parliament will play a major role in making this dream of India secure and a prosperous nation.

Why  Land Acquisition Bill is at the center of every issue?

India has recorded a dismal rank in the Ease of Doing Business in India at 142 rank for the year 2015 as per the World Bank reports. The component split contributing to this rank is shown below:

Parameter 2015 Rank
Starting a Business 158
Dealing with Construction Permits 184
Getting Electricity 137
Registering Property 121
Getting Credit 36
Protecting Minority Interests 7
Paying Taxes 156
Trading across Borders 126
Enforcing Contracts 186
Resolving Insolvency 137

The above parameters clearly indicate that the atmosphere for doing the business in India is really dismal and it needs to be improved on priority if it has to generate more employment and entrepreneurship in India.  With the launch of the website for clearing of all the permissions and requests pertaining to the projects submitted to the government, the efforts to reduce the red tapism has been taken. The parameters pertaining to availability of land and developing the infrastructure conducive to the development of the infrastructure depends upon the acquisition of land and developing it with the provision of infrastructure like road connectivity, water and electricity connectivity. Therefore it all boils down to most contentious bill which is the “Land Acquisition Bill”.

If India has to generate huge employment for the growing population, it is imperative that its manufacturing sector is boosted as well as the service sector. The manufacturing sector has the capacity to  generate massive employment opportunities, increase the purchasing power of the people which can be used for improving the quality of life of the people.

Is Land Acquisition Bill really detrimental to the interests of the farmers?

The media has been going gaga about Land Acquisition Bill being detrimental to the interests of the farmers. But looking at the technicalities of the Bill it raises a question to me if the opposition and other political parties are interested in working for the interests of the nation or if they are working to secure their vote bank by voicing their concerns against the BJP which is working for the betterment of the country.

1.      The bill mandates for a procedure for acquiring the land thereby avoiding the forceful grabbing of the land by corporate:

The Bill mandates that for a land to be acquired for a public private partnership it has to be acquired by atleast 70% of the land owners, while 80% of the land owners consent is required for the private project thereby ensuring that there is no atrocity by the private players in grabbing the land.

2.      Clear definition of the acquisition of the property process:

A clear process has been defined in the Bill for the acquisition of any property. A clear mechanism for the advertisement of the to be acquired property has to be initiated and then a certain period is defined for the acquisition of the land. If the land owners have any issues then they can be submitted to the district collector where he has to ensure all the issues are redressed.  There is a clearly defined mandate for the redressal of the issues.

3.     Right price paid to the land owners while acquiring of the property:

During the acquisition of the land the below mentioned criteria is applied to determine the final price that has to be paid to the land owners.

  • the minimum land value, if any, specified in the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 for the registration of sale deeds in the area, where the land is situated; or
  • the average of the sale price for similar type of land being acquired, ascertained from the highest fifty per cent of the sale deeds registered during the preceding three years in the nearest village or nearest vicinity of the land being acquired.; or
  • the consented amount in case the land is acquired for private companies or public-private partnership projects.

4.      Mandate of the rehabilitation:

Act provides to compensate rural households – both land owners and livelihood losers. The Act goes beyond compensation, it mandates guaranteed series of entitlements to rural households affected.

For a typical rural household the compensation is paid in the following manner:

  • four times the market value of the land, and
  • an upfront payment of Rs.1,36,000 for subsistence, transportation and resettlement allowances, and
  • an additional entitlement of a job to the family member, or a payment of Rs.5,00,000 up front, or a monthly annuity totaling Rs.24,000 per year for 20 years with adjustment for inflation – the option from these three choices shall be the legal right of the affected land owner family, not the land acquirer, and
  • a house with no less than 50 square meters in plinth area, and
  • additional benefits may apply if the land is resold without development, used for urbanization, or if the land owner belongs to SC/ST or other protected groups per rules of the Government of India

In the case of the urban area the land that is being acquired would be calculated at 2 times the market value.

Therefore in every manner the Land acquisition bill is a clear Bill to ensure that the rights of the farmers are protected and also the projects which have been in the back-burner are resolved so that more employment and economic activity can be created. The allegations of the opposition that the Bill is not in favor of the farmers is not justified and incorrect.

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