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Here are the details of the draft land acquisition Bill

Last updated on: July 29, 2011 19:48 IST

Here are the details of the draft land acquisition Bill

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A Correspondent in New Delhi


Amid a raging controversy over land acquisition, the government on Friday unveiled a new draft Bill putting in place a transparent, legal framework aimed at giving adequate compensation to land owners and ensuring rehabilitation of those displaced.

Sticking to his transparency in the controversial land acquisitions issue, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on Friday placed on the Internet the draft of the National Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, seeking public comments by August 31.

The draft Bill proposes that the consent of 80 per cent of the project-affected families will be mandatory if the government acquires land for use by private companies for stated public purpose or PPP projects other than that for national highway.

The much-awaited Bill, which has been put in public domain, says 'in case of urban areas, the award amount would be not less that twice that of the market value determined whereas in rural areas it would be not less that six times the original market value'.

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Here are the details of the draft land acquisition Bill

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It also states that the public purpose once stated cannot be changed.

Ramesh makes it clear that in every case, land acquisition must take place in a manner that fully protects the interests of land-owners and also of those whose livelihoods depend on the land being acquired.

He also stresses that land markets in India are imperfect and hence the government is stepping in to enact this law.

In his forward to the draft Bill, Ramesh made it clear that 'the issue of who acquires land is less important than the process of land acquisition, compensation for land acquired and the Rehabilitation and Resettlement process, package and conditions'.

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Here are the details of the draft land acquisition Bill

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Pointing out that the draft Bill specifies these parameters irrespective of the ratio of private and government acquisition, he writes: 'The objective is to make the process of land acquisition easy, transparent and fair for both sides in each instance.'

'This draft Bill covers all cases (0-100%, 50-50%, 70- 30%, 90-10%, 100-0% and all other possible combinations in between), irrespective of the ratios and leads to equal treatment of equals in R&R, irrespective of who acquires their land, government or private parties,' he states.

Ramesh points out that the draft Bill seeks to balance the need for facilitating land acquisition for various public purposes including infrastructure development, industrialisation and urbanisation and concerns of farmers and others affected.

Public purposes for which the land can be acquired are defined as: strategic like armed forces and national security, infrastructure and industry where benefits largely accrue to general public, for R&R purposes, village or urban sites for planned residences for the poor and educational and health schemes, for private companies for public purposes and needs arising from natural calamities.

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Here are the details of the draft land acquisition Bill

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It is also made clear that the urgency clause to acquire land can e invoked only for national defence and security purposes, R&R needs in case of emergencies or natural calamities and in 'rarest of rare' cases.

The affected families entitled for payment and R&R are land owners whose land and other immovable properties are acquires as also right holders under the Forest Rights Act as also families whose livelihood is primarily dependent on land being acquired, irrespective of whether they own property or not.

The minister says the draft Bill will replace the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 which has become archaic despite being amended from time to time.

'Land markets in India are imperfect. There is asymmetry of power (and information) between those wanting to acquire the land and those whose lands are being acquired. That is why there has to be a role for the government to put in place a transparent and flexible set of rules and regulations and to ensure its enforcement,' says Ramesh.

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Here are the details of the draft land acquisition Bill

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The land acquisition and R&R are combined in the Bill since not combining the two risks neglect of R&R, he said pointing out that 'this has, indeed, been the experience thus far'.

The draft Bill places a new institutional mechanism for the purpose.

Ramesh also made it clear that the draft Bill does not exclude private companies buying land directly from farmers and others, but it only mandates a fair R&R package and 'under no circumstances should multi-cropped, irrigated land be acquired'.

The draft Bill will have primacy over 18 other central laws on land acquisition for defence, railways, highways, SEZs, et cetera and its provisions will be in addition to and not in derogation of the existing safeguards in laws such as Forest Rights Act, Land Transfer Regulations in Scheduled V (Tribal) areas and PESA, 1996, Ramesh added.

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Here are the details of the draft land acquisition Bill

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Salient features of compensation

Minimum compensation mandated is the market value of land multiplied by three in rural areas and calculated on the basis of minimum land value if specified in the Indian Stamps Act for registration of sale deeds in the area or the average of the sale price of similar land situated in village or vicinity in 50 per cent deeds registered during preceding three years, whichever is higher.

Plus

Value of assets on land like building, trees, wells, crops, etc.

Plus

Solatium @ 100% of total compensation.

In case of urban areas, the award amount would be not less than twice the market value determined whereas in rural areas it would be not less than six times the original market value.

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Here are the details of the draft land acquisition Bill

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Minimum R&R entitlements

The land owners will get subsistence allowance of Rs 3,000 per month per family for 12 moths plus Rs 2,000 per month per family as annuity for 20 years, appropriately indexed for inflation plus Rs 50,000 for transportation plus mandatory employment of one member per affected family or Rs 2 lakh (Rs 200,000) compensation plus 20 per cent of appreciated value upon every transfer of land within 10 years of acquisition and offer of shares up to 25 per cent of the compensation amount.

In case of those losing livelihood, which includes the landless, the compensation package is ditto except for not getting the last two but getting only one time resettlement allowance of Rs 50,000.

A constructed house in 150 sq metre plinth area in rural areas and 50 sq m plinth area in urban areas will be provided free of cost irrespective of losing home or being a homeless.

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Here are the details of the draft land acquisition Bill

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Where land is acquired for urbanisation, 20 per cent of developed land will be reserved and offered to land owners proportionate to their land acquired.

This provision will specially apply to the realtors buying properties in villages to develop housing colonies.

Besides, the draft Bill also stipulates 26 infrastructural amenities to be provided in the resettlement area like roads, electricity, schools and playgrounds, health centres, safe drinking water, places of worship and burial/cremation round, post office, fair price shops, etc.


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