Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013: An Analysis

Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013: An Analysis

Written by: Eshti Kapoor[1]

Introduction

The Land and Acquisition Act of 1894 was a general law governing the acquisition of land for public and private uses, as well as setting the amount of compensation to be paid in connection with such acquisitions. The provisions of the aforementioned Act were determined to be insufficient in resolving some issues linked to the State’s legislative powers for forced land acquisition and poverty. The Rehabilitation and Resettlement Issues for Affected Persons and Their Families were not addressed in the Act.

The Land Acquisition Act of 1894 has been amended numerous times, not only by the Central Government but also by the State Government. However, public concern about land acquisition, particularly multi-cropped irrigated property, has grown. There was no central law that appropriately addressed the challenges of displaced persons’ rehabilitation and resettlement. Because land acquisition, rehabilitation, and resettlement were two sides of the same coin, a single integrated law was required to address the concerns of land acquisition, rehabilitation, and resettlement.

The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement Act of 2013 addresses the concerns of farmers and others whose livelihoods are dependent on the land being acquired, while also facilitating the timely and transparent acquisition of land for industrialization, infrastructure, and urbanization projects.

This Act marks a shift in the way the legislature views land acquisition. For the first time, it includes a provision for the social impact study, identifies non-owners as impacted persons, establishes a manner of acquisition that requires the cooperation of the displaced, and establishes statutory resettlement benefits. Furthermore, the grounds for acquiring the land under the urgency clause have been limited.

Aims and Objectives of the Act[2]

  • In conjunction with all parties and local governing authorities, ensure a transparent land acquisition process.
  • To ensure that the present population is displaced as little as possible while owning or remaining on the land.
  • To offer just compensation to families whose livelihoods have been harmed or whose land has been acquired as a result of land acquisition.
  • To provide appropriate funding for the rehabilitation and resettlement of affected families.

Provision and Purpose of Land Acquisition Act[3]

According to the Act, the Indian government (both state and central) can purchase land for its own use, for public sector firms, or for a ‘public purpose,’ which can include any of the following:

  • For any work linked to India’s state or national security or defence services, including the naval, military, air force, or other armed forces, that is under the state or central government’s authority.
  • For the construction of public infrastructure, excluding private hospitals, educational institutions, and hotels.
  • For any government-owned or farmer-owned initiative involving agricultural or related businesses, such as dairy, fishing, or meat processing.
  • For projects designated in the National Manufacturing Policy, such as industrial corridors, manufacturing zones, and other projects. This can also apply to mining operations.
  • For water harvesting, conservation structural initiatives, or planned village development or renovation.
  • For educational and research institutions that get government funding.
  • For planned development in rural and urban regions, such as the creation of housing developments for the less fortunate.
  • For the development of housing projects for the poor and landless, as well as those afflicted by natural disasters.

Challenges before the Land Reforms[4]

Farmers have been suffering under numerous governance institutions for a long time. The ruling class benefited from the growth of the zamindari, mahalwari, jagirdari, and ryotwari systems. Even after independence, nations are unable to execute reforms due to a lack of resources or the complicated agricultural system and social divisions that exist.

The Indian government has recognized the importance of abolishing such arrangements. People are able to find gaps between the enactment of a law and its enforcement, and the problem endures in a different form. Any government action leads to a shift in the methods of exploitation. Poverty figures that have persisted among the agricultural class for decades are an unmistakable indication or evidence that land reforms have failed to achieve their intended goals.

The obstacles to land reform begin with different states enacting different land ceiling measures, which is due to differences in the resources they have, such as geographical area, rural and urban structures, landless labour population, and natural resources available. The situation is made worse by errors in land records, which result in the creation of benami (properties with missing ownership details) properties, and finally, government empty coffers entail improper compensation payments for landowners under reforms.

Land reforms strive to address issues such as the allocation of government-acquired land, existing government land, excess land, land under tribal control, land under village community control, and land that falls under the category of forest land. Various states have different land ownership regimes, and many of them lack legal recognition. Land reforms are complicated by ownership systems where land is occupied by a community or tribal population, or when land holdings are dispersed among community members after each agricultural season.

Land reforms strive to address issues such as the allocation of government-acquired land, existing government land, excess land, land under tribal control, land under village community control, and land that falls under the category of forest land. Varied states have different land ownership regimes, and many of them lack legal recognition. Land reforms are complicated by ownership systems where land is occupied by a community or tribal population, or when land holdings are dispersed among community members after each agricultural season.

Land Reform and Impact its on Social Movements[5]

Various social movements in India have been successful in bringing about change at the grassroots level where government intervention has failed. The most notable of these is the Bhoodan Movement, which began in the early 1950s under Acharaya Vinoba Bhave. It recently fell prey to the land mafia, and a large portion of it remains unallocated. In a similar vein, the government-sponsored Gramdan (village donation) programme was launched with minimal success.

These movements are able to raise awareness about the plight of poor agricultural landless people and wealthy landowners who profit handsomely from them. Rich and privileged people were pressured by social movements to think of additional methods to secure their riches and improve their image. So, before the government drafted a new land ceiling law, they began to use social movements to become saviours of the new India by donating their lands and transferring them to their close and dear ones.

Conclusion

On January 1, 2014, the “Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement Act, 2013” went into effect. It gives hope to the suffering populace, but the Act has many problems, including a large migrant labour force, thousands of land disputes in court, loss-making marginal and agricultural farms, debt-ridden farmers, agriculture tenancy issues, and rural development. The Act is for compensation and transparency when land is acquired, the population is rehabilitated, and resettlement is required.

Experts are hopeful that its implementation will address all issues and solve all of the problems listed above, as they believe the root of all problems is the injustice done to farmers and displaced people in the form of insufficient compensation. The Act was amended in 2015, diluting the safety measures for five special categories: the defence sector, rural infrastructure development, affordable housing schemes, industrial strips, and infrastructure projects, including Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects where the government owns the land.

About the Author

Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013: An Analysis

Eshti Kapoor

Student at Vivekananda School of Law and Legal Studies, VIPS.

She has participated in various academic events at VSLLS including successfully completing the Legal Drafting and Office Management Course at Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies. She has a keen interest in writing and has written many articles for various legal blogs. She is an author of “Equal Pay for Equal Work” Research Paper published at Journal of Emerging Technologies and Innovative Research (JETIR)


[1] B.B.A LL.B (Hons.) student of 4th year Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies, VSLLS, VIPS, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University.

[2] All about Land Acquisition Act, Surbhi Gupta ( https://housing.com/news/all-about-the-land-acquisition-act/ ) (Last Visited: 23. 08.21)

[3] All about Land Acquisition Act, Surbhi Gupta, ( https://housing.com/news/all-about-the-land-acquisition-act/ ) (Last Visited: 23.08.21)

[4] The Challenges before “The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (LARR)”: A Study of Indian Land Reforms, Masood Ahmed, ( https://amity.edu/UserFiles/admaa/c1ebfPaper%2010.pdf ) (Last Visited: 23.08.21)

[5] The Challenges before “The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (LARR)”: A Study of Indian Land Reforms, Masood Ahmed, ( https://amity.edu/UserFiles/admaa/c1ebfPaper%2010.pdf ) (Last Visited: 23.08.21)

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