The much-awaited Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill is ready. But, questions are being raised that will the bill be a slightly modified version of the archaic colonial Land Acquisition Act of 1894 or will it be a great leap forward.
The main issues highlighted on the bill are that multi-cropped, irrigated land cannot be acquired. Government can acquire land only for public purpose and land to be acquired for public purpose after consultation, no consent is needed. Land for non-public use needs 80 per cent consent, separate set of norms for land acquisition in rural and urban areas and there is an urgency clause to be invoked for national defence and security, relief and rehabilitation.
National Advisory NC Saxena said, "There is not going to be involuntary displacement or involuntary acquisition."
The new law is compliant with existing tribal welfare laws and will have primacy over the existing 18 laws including Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh began by emphasising on the need for land for industry, urbanisation and infrastructure and also not who acquires land but how land acquired is more important than the process of land acquisition. The question is will this be a bill that will provide for a solution to the land conflicts across India.