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“The millions of displaced people do not exist anymore. When history is written they would
“The millions of displaced people do not exist anymore. When history is written they would not be in it,
not even as statistics. Some of them have subsequently been displaced three and four times. True, they
are not being annihilated or taken to gas chambers, but I can warrant that the quality of their
accommodation is worse than in any concentration camp of the Third Reich. They are not captive, but
they re-define the meaning of liberty and still the nightmare does not end. They continue to be uprooted
even from their hellish hovels by government bulldozers. The millions of displaced people in India are
nothing but refugees of an unacknowledged war.” – Arundhati Roy, The Greater Common Good
Infrastructural Development in India: Overview
The Government of India has set the huge target of doubling investment in infrastructure from INR 20.5
trillion to INR 40.9 trillion during the Twelfth Plan period. The share of infrastructure investment in GDP is
planned to be increased to more than 10% by the end of the Twelfth Plan. This investment, if it materializes,
can propel India’s economic growth to a higher trajectory all in terms of infrastructural development in
Railways, Ports, Roadways, Electricity, Telecommunications, Irrigation, Water Supply, Storing facilities
and Oil and Gas pipelines. With major impetus on PPP Projects for infrastructural developments, both
completed and implemented, India shows a great inclination towards development. Some of the important
viewpoints are as given:
Energy: 100% FDI in power sector has increased private sector investments with additional power
generation capacity, transmission, distribution and oil and gas pipelines
Transport: Projected investment in roads is close to $51.5 billion in terms of National Highways, State
roads and development of transport facilities covering Air and Water routes.
Telecommunications: CAGR of 26% (y-o-y) has led to huge investments, improved quality and reduced
revenues in this sector.
Water & Sanitation: Huge investments in Solid waste management, water treatment plants, irrigation
facilities, storm water drainage systems and water supply pipelines
Social & Commercial Infrastructure: In terms of educational institutions, hospitals, common
infrastructure for industrial parks, SEZ’s, tourism facilities and agriculture markets, storage infrastructure,
terminal markets and cold chains for soil testing labs, India is seeing investments like no other.
The adverse effects of infrastructural developments have led to a rising social issue which is analysed and
recommended upon in the essay given ahead.
Development-induced displacement and resettlement (DIDR) is the forcing of communities and individuals
out of their homes, often also their homelands, for the purposes of economic development. It is a subset
of forced migration. It has been historically associated with the construction of dams for hydroelectric
power and irrigation purposes but also appears due to many other activities, such as mining
power and irrigation purposes but also appears due to many other activities, such as mining and the creation
of military installations, airports, industrial plants, weapon testing grounds, railways, road developments,
urbanization, conservation projects, forestry, etc. Development-induced displacement is a social problem
affecting multiple levels of human organization, from tribal and village communities to well-developed
urban areas. Development-induced displacement or the forced migration in the name of development is
affecting more and more people as countries move from developing to developed nations. The people that
face such migration are often helpless, suppressed by the power and laws of nations.
The lack of rehabilitation policies for migrants means that they are often compensated only monetarily -
without proper mechanisms for addressing their grievances or political support to improve their livelihoods.
Displaced people often internalize a sense of helplessness and powerlessness because of their encounter with
the powerful external world, although there are also several examples of active resistance movements
against development-induced displacement. In every category, particularly among marginalized groups,
women are the worst hit and pay the highest price of development. A study carried out by the national
commission for women in India (NCW) on the impact of displacement on women reveals that violence
against women is increased. An increase in alcoholism due to displacement has led to a marked rise in
domestic violence in India.
Displacement: A Social Concern in India
Displacement and rehabilitation have been a serious concern for all developing countries. Every year dams,
highways, ports, power projects, urban improvements, petrochemical plants, and other such industrial
development projects globally displace about 10 million people. In India, involuntary resettlement is
estimated to have affected about 50 million people in the last five decades, particularly tribal and rural.
Majority still face an uncertain future. Traditionally, little thought went into addressing the factors that limit
the benefits available to project-affected families, making a series of rehabilitation action plans
unsustainable in the long run. People displaced by development projects face a variety of impoverishment
risks that include landlessness, joblessness, homelessness, marginalization, increased morbidity, food
insecurity, loss of access to common property, and social disarticulation. With the liberalization of the
economy, more and more private fund is flowing into large- scale infrastructure development in India.
However, of late, growing public concern over the long-term consequences for PAP (project-affected
people) is resulting in greater public scrutiny of the rehabilitation and resettlement process, particularly for
large development projects. Whether as a result of increased public scrutiny on the social responsibility of
corporates or as a pragmatic recognition of the time and cost overrun implications of a badly conceived
rehabilitation strategy, an increasing number of industrial ventures, as well as several state governments,
have been paying greater attention to developing a more robust rehabilitation strategy for project- affected
families and have committed to spending substantial sums of money on the rehabilitation process. Many
states in India now have forward-looking R&R (resettlement and rehabilitation) policies in place (Orissa
R&R policy 2006, Jharkhand R&R Policy 2008, Arunachal Pradesh R&R Policy 2008, and so on).
R&R policy 2006, Jharkhand R&R Policy 2008, Arunachal Pradesh R&R Policy 2008, and so on).
Displacement, resettlement, and rehabilitation are however more than a question of sheer numbers (or the
lack thereof). Other critical issues involved in the process of displacement include empowerment post
rehabilitation, human rights of project affected, participation and self-determination in development, the
complexities of resettlement goals, options and strategies, and relevant legal and policy instruments.
Trauma of Industrial Displacement:
Industrial Development-induced displacement has mostly caused downward “spiral of impoverishments.”
The long drawn out, dehumanising, disempowering and painful process of displacement has led to
widespread traumatic psychological and socio-cultural consequences. It causes dismantling of production
systems, desecration of ancestral sacred zones or graves and temples, scattering of kinship groups and
family systems, disorganisation of informal social networks that provide mutual support, weakening of self-
management and social control and disruption of trade and market links, etc. This also leads to the loss of
complex social relationship which used to provide avenues of representation, mediation and conflict
resolution. Essentially, the very cultural identity of the displaced community and individual is subjected to
massive onslaught leading to very severe physiological stress and psychological trauma.
Objectives of Study:
The objective of the paper is to identify the issues and challenges in the industrial displacement of affected
inhabitants and suggest measures for adequate resettlement, rehabilitation and empowerment post
rehabilitation. The suggestions will be formulated based on the learning’s from past industrial displacement,
which will form an effective basis for reflecting into future.
Resettlement and Rehabilitation:
Resettlement programmes have predominantly focussed on the process of physical relocation rather than on
the economic and social development of the displaced and other adversely affected people. This has severely
eroded the development effectiveness of resettlement and rehabilitation programmes and heightened the
impoverishment risk of the resettlers. According to Cernea (1998) risks to adversely affected people are not
a component of conventional project analysis. The key economic risks to affected people are from the loss of
livelihood and income sources such as arable land, common property resources such as forests, grazing land,
ground and surface water, fisheries, etc. and changed access to and control of productive resources. The loss
of economic power with the breakdown of complex livelihood systems results in temporary or permanent,
often irreversible, decline in living standards leading to marginalisation. Higher risks and uncertainties are
introduced when diversified livelihood sources are lost. Loss of livelihood and disruption of agricultural
activity can adversely affect household food security, leading to under-nourishment. Higher incidence of
diseases associated with deteriorating water quality can result in increased morbidity and mortality. Another major
diseases associated with deteriorating water quality can result in increased morbidity and mortality. Another
major issue is the loss of identity for most of the tribal people as displacement has a negative effect on
livelihood, culture and their spiritual existence in the form of breakup of families, erosion of inter
community marriages, cultural functions and hence ignorance of communal character. Further, the tribal
people are not familiar with market trends, prices of commodities and policies, which eventually leads them
to be exploited and alienated in the modern era.
Most industrial projects have long planning horizons and the actual physical relocation comes a long time
after the initial notifications. The interim period is one full of uncertainties and enormous psychosocial
anxieties for the to-be-relocated communities. Numerous examples exist of communities being subjected to
multiple displacements by successive development projects. The costs of the resettlement programme have
invariably been underestimated and under financed.
Institutional weaknesses, marked by confusions between various departments and the lack of capacity as
well as continuity, have been major problems in ensuring effective resettlement. Generally, participation of
the affected people has been superficial. In the absence of policy and legal instruments and an effective
mechanism to monitor compliance, even well-structured institutions with trained staff have failed in
consistent implementation of effective resettlement. Indigenous/tribal peoples displaced by big projects the
experience has been extremely negative in cultural, economic, and health terms. Resettlement sites are
invariably selected without reference to availability of livelihood opportunities, or the preferences of
displaced persons themselves. Sometimes even temporary shelters are unavailable.
The question of livelihoods is a major issue in resettlement and rehabilitation policy. There is reluctance on
the part of Governments and lending agencies to adopt and make operational policies requiring that the loss
of agricultural land be compensated with alternative land, especially in the face of increasing pressure on
land and the limited availability of arable land as well as its high price. This is despite the fact that most non-
land-for-land programmes have failed to foster successful self-employment and other non-land-based
livelihood strategies, especially in the critical areas of employment, skills, and capacity building.
Forced relocation usually results in people being transplanted from a social ecology in which they were
primary actors to one in which they are aliens; they are not only very vulnerable but also end up in most
cases as an underclass in their new socio-cultural milieu.
Communities of displaced people are invariably fragmented and randomly atomised, tearing as under
kinship and social networks and traditional support systems. Communities and often even large families are
broken up and resettled over a wide area. The outcomes are psychological pathologies and alcoholism, etc.
common among displaced populations. It has been documented that this greatly enhanced psychological and
psycho-social stress caused by involuntary resettlement heightens morbidity and immorality. The special
vulnerabilities and specific needs of indigenous and tribal peoples have been inadequately addressed.
Resettlement sites have been under-prepared in terms of basic amenities and essential infrastructure such as

health, schooling, and credit. Generally, displacement as result of acquisition is legally sanctioned while, with few exceptions, there is no legal framework that governs the process of displacement itself.

Compensation Issues:

Compensation has largely been understood to refer to specific measures intended to make good the losses suffered by people displaced and/or negatively affected. Compensation usually takes the form of a one-off payment, either in cash or kind and is principally about awards to negatively affected persons (Bartolome et al 1999).

Compensation is most often awarded only to persons in possession of undisputed legal title. Tenants, sharecroppers, wage-labourers, artisans and encroachers are rarely considered eligible for compensation, whereas they are paradoxically the most vulnerable and in need of support. Community assets and common resources like grazing grounds and forests, which again may be critical for the livelihood of the poorest, are not compensated for under the acquisition process. The losses incurred by people affected by the creation of infrastructure such as project offices and township, canals, transmission lines, and other activities are not usually properly accounted for and so these losses have not been adequately compensated.

The limited provisions in law to challenge the rate of compensation are, in practice, inaccessible to the negatively affected persons, because they may not be aware of the legal nuances or else cannot afford the expensive remedy of courts. Even those that are able to access Courts fritter away a substantial proportion of the gains that they achieve in legal costs. Many studies have recorded how cash compensation is depleted by negatively affected persons in short periods, by fraud, for repayment of old debts, in liquor and conspicuous consumption. A lifetime of livelihood security or shelter is squandered in months, sometimes weeks, condemning displaced persons to assured and irrevocable destitution.

Rehabilitation and Development:

Rehabilitation can be envisioned as a process that would reverse the risks of resettlement. Cernea suggests a risk and reconstruction model of rehabilitation that would be marked by a series of transitions from:

Landlessness to land-based resettlement;

Joblessness to re-employment;

Food insecurity to safe nutrition;

Homelessness to house reconstruction;

Increased morbidity and mortality to improved health and well-being, and

Social disarticulation and deprivation of common property resources to community reconstruction and social inclusion (Cernea M.M. 1998:47).

Rehabilitation is only possible where development takes place. Thus resettlement must be planned as an integral part of the comprehensive development project (Jain, L.C. 2000). In this sense rehabilitation is really an outcome of resettlement that is conceived not as physical relocation or mere restoration of incomes but as development. This brings us to the question of development in the context of resettlement and rehabilitation.


resettlement programme in order to qualify as development must therefore centre around: (i) enhancement


capabilities; and (ii) the expansion of social opportunities by addressing the social and personal

constraints that restrict people’s choices. This would mean that resettlement with development entails questions of resources and rights that would affect the quality of life of the people.

The Resettlement Plan:

As already indicated, worldwide experience of the resettlement component demonstrates that unless the resettlement and rehabilitation component is based on collective negotiations with the affected people and planned and implemented as a development project, rather than as an attempt to restore pre-project income and living standards, the large majority will be further impoverished following removal. Resettlement cannot be reduced to the physical removal of relocatees or to the reproduction of their pre project living conditions.

Resettlement must aim to improve the quality of life of the people by raising living standards beyond the pre-project levels. Resettlement must be planned and implemented as a development project over a minimum of two generations and include not only protective measures, but also the provision of new rights, resources and strategies.

The resettlement as a development programme should aim for:


A sustainable improvement, both in terms of objective indices as well as of subjective criteria employed by the relocatees themselves, of the quality of life of the majority of relocatees, and particularly of the poor and the marginalised.

A cumulative and lasting empowerment of relocatees, resulting from their effective participation in the decision-making process relating to the development project (and particularly to those parts of it which relate to its resettlement component), and manifesting itself in a greater degree of control over their day to day affairs. Successful resettlement thus embodies both procedural elements relating to the fruits of genuine participation, as well as more concrete outcome.


keeping with the fundamental principles of participatory development and democracy, there is a need to

move away from forced relocation and displacement to a voluntary and collectively negotiated process which recognises and respects people’s rights while keeping social costs to a minimum.

People have to participate in the decision-making process not as negatively project-affected but as primary
People have to participate in the decision-making process not as negatively project-affected but as primary
actors who contribute to the socioeconomic value of the project through their acceptance of its costs and
Critical Areas of Concern:
Social cost - Displacement has certain visible costs and can be given a monetary dimension. Its invisible
costs like family crisis, social dislocations, emotional crisis and disturbances, loss of community attachments
and local culture and threat perceptions can be imagined but cannot be calculated. Making investments in
steel may be easier than building schools and equipping them with the right kind of teachers. It is still more
difficult to create a sustainable source of income and livelihood for the affected people. Plants can be set up
but the wasted Common Property Resources cannot be created. Once displaced, people may find alternative
ways of earning a living but will not forget the trauma of separation from their ancestral land.
Overshadowing all the cost and benefits is the future of children of the displaced families. It is their
education, their health, their minds and their physical well-being which are likely to suffer the worst. It
requires sincere efforts to resettle the students once they have been dislocated and disturbed. The real
problem will be in restoring the academic environment for the students and instilling in them the joy of
reading after the change which they had to accept reluctantly. Industries interested in providing schools and
health facilities for the displaced families have to address such sensitive aspects of these problems. Yet there
may be an undercurrent of fear of social disorders in the minds of the displaced households. Under these
circumstances the future of these people and their children would hang by the thread depending on so many
unknown factors.
Lack of basic amenities - Most of the industrial development projects failed to provide basic amenities to
the displaced people, which is a critical area of concern. Non-availability of wage work - Avenues of wage
work are severely restricted in the resettlement colonies, forcing many ousters to migrate to places outside
the district and even the State.
Decline in the Role of Women and Relationship in the Family - Women play a vital role in the family,
community and society. But after displacement, their income has either dwindled or has come to a halt
altogether. They have become totally dependent on their husbands or sons for household expenditure. This
makes their role and status very limited. The cordial and intimate relationship of the pre-displacement period
is now disrupted. Decrease in family income have created conflicts and bitterness among them.
Problems arising out of cash compensation - Most of the project authorities pay cash compensation to the
Project affected, which is often misutilised by the male members on consumer durable items or liquor.
Increased alcoholism has led to a rise in crimes in these areas.
Increasing difficulties in arranging marriage for Daughters - Women oustees now face great difficulty in
Increasing difficulties in arranging marriage for Daughters - Women oustees now face great difficulty in
getting married because of the demand for more dowry. Use of cash compensation on the marriages leave
the family pauperized.
Leasing the Land - Another option is for the farmer to not sell the land but to lease it to the company or
SEZ. Thus, the land remains the farmer’s and he draws a regular income in the form of lease rent which, if
made out in the name of husband and wife, can overcome some of the concerns indicated earlier. The
difficulty with this solution, of course, is that it does not take care of the interests of the landless who, as we
know, are perhaps the worst off economically and socially. Some additional ties need to be factored in, like
reskilling and alternative enterprises, to make this work for the landless.
Landless person - A landless person should be provided with a livelihood which he has the skills to pursue.
If this is not possible, then he must be reskilled to pursue what is possible. Cash compensation simply does
not make any sense in the complete form and must be coupled with given situations where the person is a
part of inclusive growth.
Reskilling and Facilitation - Since technology provides limited opportunities for people skilled in
agriculture (calling them unskilled is a disservice), there is clearly a case to invest in reskilling them so that
they can either be employed or be a supplier of goods and services to the companies – again an opportunity
unique to industrial displacement.
The Road Ahead:
If growth with a human face is to mean anything, rehabilitation of displaced persons must mean that people
being displaced take their rightful place in the centre of the “public purpose” for which they are being
displaced. This requires imagination and commitment. The first we have; do we have the second?
Conclusion can be drawn from the fact that a successful resettlement with development is a fundamental
commitment and responsibility of the India. Being a developing country, it naturally will give priority to
industrial development. Industrialisation will remain an unfinished business here unless these problems are
addressed and dealt with tact and understanding to ensure the desired outcomes in terms of industrial
development. No development project can result in complete alienation of the rights, customary and legal, of
people through payment of a one-time compensation or facilitated relocation. On the contrary, the process
must result in the creation of new rights that will render people direct beneficiaries of the development
project. Just as displacement is not an inevitable consequence of infrastructure development, resettlement
need not necessarily result in impoverishment. Central to positive resettlement and rehabilitation will be the
empowering of people, particularly the economically and socially marginalised, as a result of both the
process and outcomes of resettlement with development.
Political Standpoint: Land Acquisition Bill and Rehabilitation Policy – Overview: The Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation
Political Standpoint: Land Acquisition Bill and Rehabilitation Policy – Overview:
The Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011, introduced in the Lok Sabha on
September 7, 2011 protects the interests of farmers/land owners and not bar purchase of land by the private
companies, corporates among others. It would enable acquisition of land for industries, industrialization and
some form of urbanization. It also makes it mandatory that Gram Sabhas are consulted and the R&R
package is executed before the acquired land is transferred. Under the proposed law, the R&R package
would necessarily have to be executed for land acquisitions in excess of 100 acres by private companies. It
also prohibits private companies from purchasing any multi-cropped irrigated land for public purposes.
Definition of Public Purpose: The proposed Bill makes “public purpose” clearer: it includes laying and
developing of infrastructure such as highways, roads, bridges and railway establishments, and not malls and
shopping complexes. While the State government would not have any role in acquisition of land, it would
come into the picture if the private companies petitioned for such an intervention. The government would do
so only if the acquisition would benefit the general public.
A Role for the Gram Sabhas: For the first time, the law has acknowledged the role of the Gram Sabha in
the process of land acquisition, stressing that they would have to be “consulted”.
Time limit for utilization of land: If the acquired land was not put to use for within five years of the
acquisition, it would be returned to the original owner and the benefit of increase in the market price should
go to the owner.
Compensation to both the land and livelihood losers: Both the land owners and livelihood losers will
have to be paid compensation. In rural areas, the compensation will amount to six times the market value of
the land while in urban areas it would be at least twice the market value. Apart from this, the landowners
will be entitled to a subsistence allowance of Rs.3,000 per month for 12 years and Rs.2,000 as annuity for 20
years, with an appropriate index for inflation.
Land for urbanization: In the cases of land acquired for urbanization, 20 per cent of the developed land
would be reserved and offered to the land owners in proportion to the acquired land. In addition, every
affected family would be entitled to one job, else Rs.2 lakh.
Loss of housing: Those who lost their house in the land acquisition process would be provided a constructed
house with, in rural areas, plinth area of 150 sq. m, and 50 sq. m in urban areas, as well as a one-time
resettlement allowance of Rs.50,000. If the land acquired is for an irrigation project, one acre of land would
be provided to each affected family in the command area. Livelihood losers would get a subsistence

allowance of Rs.3,000 per month per family for 12 months and Rs.2,000 per month for 20 years as annuity, factoring in inflation.

Special package for SC/ST: Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes would get a special package wherein each family was entitled to one acre of land in every project. Those settled outside the district would be entitled to an additional 25 per cent of R&R benefits. They will also have preference in relocation and resettlement in an area in the same compact block and free land for community and social gatherings.

Tribal Displacement Plan: If 100 or more ST families are displaced, a Tribal Displacement Plan would be put in place. It would include settling land rights and restoring titles on alienated land and development of alternate fuel, fodder and non-timber forest produce. STs and SCs would also get, in the resettlement area, the reservation and other benefits they were entitled to in the displaced area. Besides, the resettlement area should provide at least 25 infrastructural amenities including schools and playgrounds, health centres, roads and electric connections, assured sources of safe drinking water for each family, Panchayat Ghars, fair-price shops and seed-cum-fertilizer storage facilities, places of worship and burial and cremation grounds.

Sources Referred:

Infrastructure Sector India Brand Equity Foundation January 2013

India Infrastructure Summit 2013 Ernst & Young (FICCI Report)

Development Induced Displacement and Resettlement Bogumil Terminski, Geneva, May 2013