Friendly Land Ac­qui­si­tion Act in Ra­jasthan

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The Ra­jasthan gov­ern­ment plans for a new Land Ac­qui­si­tion Act which like all other land act will fa­cil­i­tate speed­ier ac­qui­si­tion of land for in­dus­try and gov­ern­ment by scrap­ping mea­sures. The new busi­ness friendly law will hike the quan­tum of com­pen­sa­tion to in­cen­tivize pur­chase of land from own­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cials the law is in the draft­ing process, will get rid of a pro­vi­sion re­quir­ing con­sent of 70% to 80% of land own­ers and re­quire­ment to carry out the So­cial Im­pact As­sess­ment (SIA). Ru­ral Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter Gu­lab Chand Kataria said the draft was sent to the CMO last week and it now in wait­ing for the Ra­jasthan CM Va­sundhra Raje to take a call on ap­proval.

The re­lax­ation in the cur­rent pol­icy will ap­ply to “Core In­fra­struc­ture Pro­jects” like roads, power lines, bridges, and pipe­lines re­gard­less of whether th­ese are be­ing im­ple­mented by the public or the pri­vate sec­tor. How­ever to in­cen­tivize own­ers to part with their lands, the quan­tum of com­pen­sa­tion will be in­creased from pre­vail­ing rates for ur­ban ar­eas. We have pro­posed to clar­ify the ur­ban and ru­ral bound­aries more clearly to help iden­tify lands bet­ter. The min­i­mum ex­pec­ta­tion is that own­ers should get more rates than what is men­tioned in the DLC. We have also pro­posed a ceil­ing on the quan­tum of land which can be ac­quired by one project pro­po­nent in both ru­ral and ur­ban ar­eas — for the for­mer it is 1000 hectares and for the lat­ter it is 200 hectares," Kataria said. In­dus­try has been crit­i­cal of the con­sent and So­cial Im­pact As­sess­ment (SIA) clauses of the Right to Fair Com­pen­sa­tion and Trans­parency in Land Ac­qui­si­tion, Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and Re­set­tle­ment Act, 2013, which is cur­rently in force. While the in­dus­try has sought re­duc­ing the per­cent­age of landown­ers whose con­sent is required from 70% to 60% or 50% and lim­it­ing the SIAs to only large pro­jects (more than 500 acres in area), a higher quan­tum of com­pen­sa­tion may not be to their lik­ing.

The com­plete do­ing away of th­ese con­tentious mea­sures is also cer­tain to in­vite crit­i­cism from farm­ers groups and other or­ga­ni­za­tions fight­ing against forcible land ac­qui­si­tion. The se­nior of­fi­cial cited ear­lier said that a draft of the pro­posed leg­is­la­tion will be up­loaded on the gov­ern­ment's web­site soon af­ter the Chief Min­is­ter's Of­fice clears it, which could be on Mon­day or Tues­day.

Ac­cord­ing to ex­perts, since land is a state sub­ject, the cen­tral land ac­qui­si­tion law acts as a model based on which states have to de­vise their own laws. Ra­jasthan had first come up with its own state spe­cific land ac­qui­si­tion law in the year 1953 and which was amended sev­eral times sub­se­quently. Once the cen­tral law was brought into force, it su­per­seded all pre­vi­ous state and cen­tral amend­ments to the law.

Va­sundhra Raje, CM, Ra­jasthan

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