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My manager and I were once talking about the beauty of lakes & water bodies in Massachusetts.

I was
quite surprised when he said most of those water bodies were man made. He said a few generations
ago many of them were homes and villages that the government took to build the lakes. What the
government did then was probably painful to a few, but overall it helped everyone as the city has
copious supply of water.

India is now discussing if it should follow the developed world in creating an Eminent domain policy
to simplify land acquisition. Read that wiki link to get some background.

Also read my previous answers before proceeding into this one:

1. Indian farmers are committing suicide on a day-to-day basis. What decision must the
Indian government (under Modi) take to ensure farmers survive?
2. What Is the Future of Farming in India?

The problem
To benefit the society as a whole we need to build large infrastructure projects such as lakes, dams,
power plants, roads, factories, warehouses and so on. That is the only way out of poverty. There is not
a single developed nation that climbed out of poverty without building industries. The question is how
do we get the lands to build those projects?

Almost every piece of land is occupied. Thus, you need to acquire the land for these projects from
someone. Given the highly fragment land ownership in India, you need to deal with not just 1 big land
owner, but 1000s of small ones.

How much land we need?


India has about 2.9 million square kilometers of land area [rest is inland water bodies]. Of these 2.9m,
1.62m square km is in agriculture and about 0.66m square km under forests, leaving less than 0.6
million sq km for other uses - homes, roads, railways, airports factories, markets etc. Forest area (% of
land area) in India In this remaining 0.6 million sq km a lot of it is unusuable waste land such as the
Rann of Kutch and many inland deserts. Every other piece of usable land is already occupied.

Thus, the only way we can build new homes and jobs for millions of our people is by taking
agricultural land, sometimes even prime, irrigated agricultural land. And we have a lot of this. At the
worst case, less than 10% of the agricultural land will be converted to urban use. This 10% alone would
be about 16 million hectares or about 40 million acres. This is more than sufficient for all our new
cities, ports, factories etc. Even to acquire this at the current market prices would cost Rs. 60 lakh
crores or more. In short, even if someone wanted more of the agricultural land, there is neither
money nor use.

The rest 90% of the agricultural land would continued to be used for food and we could also rapidly
improve the productivity due to all the advancements coming from the industrialization. By getting
enough land for homes, factories and roads, it would reduce the price of homes, making home
purchases more affordable, while also reducing inflation that hurts the poor.

Think of it this way. 1 acre of land when used for agriculture can support 1 family. 1 acre under a
factory floor can probably employ 50 or more workers and their families. In short, let us grow world
class farming in 1.5 million sq km of our land and build a world class industrial infrastructure in the
0.15 million sq km of the land we would acquire. We can have both.

Why can't we just buy the normal way?


As I mentioned for each project we have to deal with 100s or even 1000s of sellers. That produces a
complex dynamic. What if 990 sellers agree to sell the land and 10 sellers hold out? That would block
the project preventing the 990 sellers from having good value for their land as well as not allowing the
society to progress.

Why don't those 10 people sell at the market price like the others? There could be a variety of reasons:

1. There might be property disputes in the family and no one in a position to call the shots.
1. They might be obstinate or otherwise too sentimentally attached to that piece of soil.
2. There could be caste, religious or other clashes that would prevent the 1000 farmers
from dealing with the same buyer.
3. Most importantly, they might be asking for ransom in what the economists call
theHoldout problem. That guy with a small land in the center could say that I would give up my
land only if you pay me 100 crores. At that point would you either stop the project or pay the
ransom? Either thing is unfair to the other people selling at market prices.
In summary, it is not always possible to acquire land for major projects by getting everyone agree.
This brutally painful process has made India a very difficult place to run business. India ranks at the
rank bottom when it comes to being business friendly:http://www.thehindu.com/business...

This means, unlike China India doesn't get enough industrial development from both local investors
and foreign investors. Tata had to painfully invest abroad as the domestic investments often get
bogged by land acquisition. Despite having a large market, India continues to not have industrial
development and that prevents us from getting people out of poverty.

Remember, the only real way to get people out of poverty is by building industries.

Now, we have two choices:

1. Go ahead with the project by forcefully acquiring land from the minority of holdouts.
2. Abort the project and get back to poverty.
We have been doing #2 for a long time and have seen China & other countries jump past us. Almost
every good economy has a policy for forcefully acquiring land.

So, why is this such as problematic one in India compared to other nations:

1. India has a very powerful landed class that has brutal hold over the villages and the
politics. This group gets much of the subsidy benefits and benefit at the cost of landless laborers
who might be better off moving to the industry. The poor landless farmers are in fact very open
to foreign investment & land acquisition. However, they have much less voice. Let me show you
one survey on farmers done recently. Look at the attitude difference between landless ones and
large farmers.
2. India has an unhealthy fear of private enterprises. Many of us believe that India is
somehow friendly to entrepreneurs, while every bit of reality point otherwise. Thus, every time
India acquires land to build factories our alarmists jump up and down. This possibly stems from
an age old distrust of the merchant castes by the priestly castes.

In the name of poor, a small group of landed farming class and an anti-merchant class is holding out
ways to acquire land. Without that land acquisition, there won't be industrial development nor moving
people out of poverty.

This is the decision to make


Ultimately we cannot have the cake and eat it too. Either we suffer in the current system with farmers
dying everyday & get tortured in poverty or we do what every other successful country have done in
the past - industrialization with a forceful land acquisition.

Also see: eminent domain | law


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Saiprasad Bejgam, Babu to be


Updated Oct 30, 2015
Originally Answered: What is the Land Acquisition Bill all about? Is it as bad for the nation as its critics claim?
Right I can simplify it for you.

In India 6 out of 10 people depend on Agriculture and live on menial and low paying jobs in
agriculture. And contribution of Agriculture to Indias GDP is just 17%. Do you see the structurally
distorted ratios? i.e., if there are 100 people earning a total of Rs 100 among them, 60 people are
earning only Rs. 17 while, rest 40 people are earning Rs 83.

Indian agriculture is heavily dependent on monsoons, and one monsoon failure and result would be
suicide of farmers in large scale. In order to avoid that, we need to reduce the dependency of people on
agriculture and monsoon too. (Reducing dependency on monsoon is a bit difficult)
Question is how do we do that?

By creating more and more high paying jobs, for that we would need industries, irrigation facilities,
storage facilities and rural infrastructure. For industries and all of it, we need land.

So land is the crucial resource here. The land in India is divided into
(Numbers are approximate, but nearer to original)
1. Agricultural land which is over 60%,
2. Deserts and totally unusable land is 4% ,
3. Forest covers about 23%, &
4. Remaining land is where we are settled, i.e., our cities, houses, offices etc.

Obviously Forest cover cant be touched. And the 4% is of no use.


So for industries to grow some of the agricultural land has to be used.
Here, comes the requirement of a policy called Land acquisition policy that would help
Govt to take the land and rehabilitate the farmers who are losing out on land, about which the current
ruckus in India is all about.

While the subject matter Land falls under Concurrent list, that is, States and Union have equal right
to make laws on it, if there is a conflict, the law made by Union prevails. The previous UPA Govt made
a law that overrides the laws made by states. And the law they made required consent of 80% of the
people to acquire land, plus a detailed social impact assessment has to be carried out along with
plethora of requirements, which made it difficult for the Govt to acquire land.

It has been calculated that, by following all the procedures, it requires 4-5 years to acquire a tract of
land sufficient enough to construct an Industrial corridor. Since the time law was made, not a single
piece of land could be acquired and projects worth 300 billion USD are in pending list retarding the
growth of the country.

In order to solve this problem, NDA Govt introduced some amendments to the Land acquisition
policy, where it wants to do away with clause of 80% consent and Social impact studies for sectors like
Defense equipment industries, affordable housing, rural infrastructure and industrial corridors
making sure that the amount of settlement or compensation is same as previous policy decided, i.e., 4
times the market price in rural areas and twice the market price in urban areas along with providing
them opportunity for alternate land, or a job with education for their children and other social
facilities like Hospitals, and educational institutions.

Some are butt hurt with this policy and are creating ruckus by walking out from Parliamentary
discussion without deliberating on the bill and ganging up on the Govt to make sure this law is not
passed.

Why are they doing this, if the law is progressive and going to be helpful on the long run?

Apply the simple law of economics here. Though land is available, it cant be used, that creates
artificial scarcity which in turn means demand for land becomes extremely high as days pass, which
will sky rocket the prices. If the prices rise, the land owners will get benefitted.

Who are the landowners here?

Majority of them are the Landlords, Politicians, middlemen or well-to-do families with a minority of
them being farmers who hold small pieces of land which will also be grabbed forcefully in important
areas slowly till the time issue gets resolved.

(The claim is very much obvious from the fact that the land reforms, tenancy reforms, cieling limits
have been big failure in India)

Now do you understand the reason for the ever soaring prices of Land in India?
A French friend of mine says, for money equivalent to Rs 2 Cr, he could get a posh house or a villa in
Paris outskirts while it is the same in Bangalore too.

Also, if input Land costs are high, would setting up of industries be feasible? Why would an
industrialist set up a plant in India if land is available for him at a cheaper price and easily in China or
elsewhere?

How could China build a manufacturing industry in such a quick time while we were at
par with them or better in 1970s?

Now do you understand the logical connection between all the opposition parties ganging up on Govt?

Some of you might think that giving up on fertile land will impact food production.

No it doesnt, it is Luddite thinking.

With lesser land in agriculture, will lead to more investment in agriculture, with calling for
mechanized farming, and adopting better technologies to produce to meet the needs. All this while we
had an archaic, draconian law of 1895, until 2011. Did it affect our Food security? No.

Case in point, America, Germany, Japan where people depending on agriculture and land under
agricultural use is way less than ours, yet they are not only self sufficient but also export to other
countries.

It is simply like saying, I want railways, metros, hospitals, etc but, hey sorry I cant give you my land
even if you give me 4 times the price of it.

While, the clauses of Govt authorities not being accountable for discrepancies and period of over 5
year holding are definitely wrong, they could be resolved only by deliberating on the bill and not by
walking out of sessions.

You might find merit in those painting negative about this bill and doing anshan. To clarify that,
inherent mistake that they are doing is, they are considering all the landowners to be farmers. While it
is not the ground reality.

For example, a friend of mine owns 450 acre land under 25 benami parts, employs 120+ people. He is
protesting the bill, because that will give him bargaining chips to negotiate with private parties for a
higher price, if that happens who will rehabilitate 120+ peasants who are dependent on the land?

The need of the hour is, it should be made easy for Govt and private companies to
acquire land, at the same time, rehabilitate real farmers who would lose their jobs.

Govt should be mindful of sensitivities of the people.

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Shubham Sinha
Written Apr 27, 2015
Originally Answered: What is the Land Acquisition Bill all about? Is it as bad for the nation as its critics claim?
I would wish to differ with Balaji Viswanathan & Saiprasad Bejgam on this one. They have highlighted
beautifully & I completely agree on the needs of having a structured & efficient Land Acquisition Bill
in place but they have digressed as to why this bill is facing so much criticism.

The original bill from 2013 & the recent amendment would give factual details of the act & the
amendment thus helping in judging whether it is good/bad or whether the criticism is justified.

The three main sticking points are:-

Consent Clause: The existing act has a consent clause which states that 80% of the affected
families should give their consent to the land acquisition before any land can be acquired by a
private company, and 70% for a project under public private partnership.

Notice that this is not 80% of the landowners but 80% of affected families that include the
landowners, the tenants, anyone else who depended on the land for their livelihood in the last 3 years,
as well as any scheduled tribes or forest dwellers who may lose the right to access the land because of
the acquisition.

The new amendment lists out five categories for which it waives off the consent clause, and these five
categories are defense, rural infrastructure, affordable housing, industrial corridors, and
infrastructure and social infrastructure.

If you look at these five categories, pretty much any project that you can think of can be categorized
under this and subsequently you can waive off the consent clause on them.

So, you have an existing situation where you have such a strict clause that not only do you require
80% consent from the landowners, but 80% consent from all affected families, and you have an
amendment which for all practical purposes waives off any consent at all.

I think both these situations are really bad. It is not practical to expect 80% approval for any land
acquisition specially when you include affected families because just to assess who those affected
families are will pose a very real practical and challenging problem. It is not hard to see why land
acquisitions have become really difficult in the current situation.

On the other hand, if you remove the consent clause altogether, you give the government wide
reaching powers to acquire land from people even when a large percentage of them are unwilling, and
I think that is not a fair situation either.

Getting rid of the affected families terminology: The amendment gets rid of the affected
families phrase and from what I understand only the landowners will have a say in acquisition. It is
very difficult to practically ascertain who the affected families are and unless someone has any ideas
on how this can be practically implemented, I dont see how you can continue to have this
terminology and have a good act.

Impact Assessment: The existing act provides for an impact assessment which means that there
would be a committee of people who will evaluate whether the potential benefits of the project
outweigh the costs, and if there is un-utilized land at the end of the project it is returned within five
years, among other things.

The new amendment removes the impact assessment for the five categories, which means you dont
need an impact assessment at all if you are under one of these five categories. I have presented a very
simplified version of the impact assessment because they want to get rid of it altogether which I think
is completely unreasonable because if you are going to potentially displace a large number of people
the least you owe them is a proper assessment of what it is going to take to rehabilitate them.
In my opinion the existing act cripples action because you just cant go through the restrictive clauses,
but the amendment is over-reaching as well because it will remove all the checks that were present to
protect the rights of the people.

There has to be a middle way to do this because it is essential that India finds a way to make this
happen. There is no way that the millions of Indians who come into the labor force every year can be
absorbed in the agricultural or services sector, so developing manufacturing is a must, and to develop
an industrial base, land is an imperative.

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Abinaya Govindarajan, I am terrible at parallel parking among other things.


Written Aug 18, 2015
Originally Answered: What is the Land Acquisition Bill all about? Is it as bad for the nation as its critics claim?
There has been some updates on the land acquisition bill in the last few days. I want to highlight these
and provide a quick refresh on the earlier versions.

Quick recap: The law governing land acquisition until 2013 was brutal and vested too much power
on the government. It stated that the government can take over any land for any public purpose and
provide a government-determined compensation to the owners. This archaic law got replaced in 2013.
On the outset, it is a good thing. But the new law stated that for a land acquisition a 70% consent is
required in the case of a Public private partnership and 80% if it's private from the affected entities. In
addition to this, the new law mandated a social impact assessment. It has been estimated that
acquiring land after this law could take 3-5 years.

Now coming back to the issue - Narendra Modi thought big with his whole "Make in India" dream.
The biggest bottleneck to this was the availability of land suitable enough for
manufacturing/industrialization. So upon winning the elections, an ordinance was passed in Dec.
2014 that diluted the consent clause and sought exemptions for land acquisition for the causes of
defense, affordable housing, corridors, rural infra/social infrastructure. To put it simply, an ordinance
is a law that can be enforced when Parliament is not in session, and has to be approved by both the
houses within 6 weeks after reassembly.

The bill gets tabled when the parliament is in session and is passed at the Lok Sabha where the Modi
government holds the majority amidst heavy opposition and needless to say, numerous walk outs.
Toward the end of the Budget session in May 2015, a committee is formed to review the amendment
and is asked to present findings during the monsoon session of the parliament.

This brings us to Aug 3. Based on the recommendations from this committee, the Modi government
has agreed to retain the consent/social impact clauses. This is a big setback to Modi Government, and
it is claimed that the recent version of the bill will look very similar to the 2013 version. We will have
to wait for more updates.

There have been 161 stalled projects because of non-availability of land and estimates of ~9 billion in
investments are stuck because of this. Manufacturing is key to provide employment and it is
imperative that our policies are set up to foster industrialization. At the very least, procedural
bottlenecks need to be done away with. This definitely will have a spiral effect and the benefits will in
turn trickle into all other areas, including agriculture. Certain types of investments like metro rail
networks, highways and atomic energy however are exempt from the 2013 law. That is small relief.
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Soubhadra Nag, Engineer by qualification.................... Aspiring to become one by exper...
Written Feb 28, 2015
Originally Answered: What is the Land Acquisition Bill all about? Is it as bad for the nation as its critics claim?
Ideally, in a federal set-up, the centre ought not to be legislating any law where states should be the
lead players. But the UPA, believing it was on to vote winner, legislated a growth-retarding land
acquisition law which will result in an artificial land shortage for infrastructure and manufacturing,
not to speak of urban expansion and housing.

Even the current opposition to the NDA move to ease the land law on five fronts defence, affordable
housing, rural infrastructure, industrial corridors, and public-private projects - is a denial of
federalism. Leaving the act as it was in 2013 will make it tougher for states to acquire land for
infrastructure projects which are vital for growth.

It is important to understand why the original Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land
Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act which is the official name of the Act which the
NDA wants to amend is not what the doctor ordered for India.

India's problem is that too many people are dependent on low-income jobs in agriculture, while land
is scarce for the creation of higher-paying jobs outside agriculture. The only solution is to reduce the
number of people dependent on land and agriculture by making more of it available for industry and
infrastructure. There is no other way.

Consider the pros of making land acquisitions easier and who actually benefits from the UPA law. It
is certainly not the poor.

First, all politicians love the UPA version of the law for the simple reason that if land acquisition
becomes tougher, middlemen and landlords will benefit from the resultant scarcity. Most rural
politicians are big landlords, and they will gain the most if businessmen have to kowtow to them to
buy land. Land aggregators, village officials and other middlemen will benefit from graft if the process
of acquisition is made difficult through the need for 70/80 percent consent and Social Impact
Assessment (SIA) studies. It has been estimated that acquiring a large parcel of land under the UPA
Act would take four to five years enough time to make any project unviable as all cost assumptions
go for a toss.

Second, the basic purpose of the Act as its very name suggests - is to ensure fair compensation,
rehabilitation and resettlement; none of this is impaired by the NDA's version of the Act. In fact, by
making acquisitions easier, it will be able to make payments quicker to land sellers. The poor will get
rehabilitated faster if the deal goes through faster, not by dragging it over five years. The only real
issue it that the displaced must be compensated and rehabilitated properly - and this is what needs
tough implementation and oversight.

Third, making land available for infrastructure and housing will make jobs grow in rural areas
making land sellers benefit both from higher payments and new job opportunities. The landless poor
depend on seasonal agricultural employment for livelihoods; once land acquisition becomes easier,
they will have options beyond agriculture. Wages will rise as infrastructure projects start blooming in
rural areas.

Fourth, India's structural problem is that too many people are bottled up in unproductive rural and
agricultural work. Any scheme to get people off the land even if it happens through compulsory land
acquisitions is thus good for them even though the disruption is real. The gut issue is people's
emotional attachment to land but this is no different from hanging on to a family heirloom which is
of no use to anyone. It needs careful communication from the government that it is mindful of
sensitivities. Nothing else.

Fifth, quicker land acquisition will, in fact, make it easier for farmers to derive more value from land.
It is a fallacy to think that land prices can be mandated to rise only through government fiat. (The
Land Act mandates paying two times market prices for land acquired in urban areas, and four times in
rural areas.) Land values rise when more land shifts out of agriculture (as is visible in large areas of
urban Haryana bordering Delhi), and this cannot happen if the idea is to make acquisitions tougher.
The UPA Act would have had the opposite effect of keeping market prices of land lower than they
should be due to the stiff conditions attached to its acquisition. To develop a proper market for land,
you need to make transactions faster and easier, not slower and more complicated. To make a market
for land vibrant, you need to increase land supply, not constrict it - as the UPA Land Act does.

Sixth, the UPA Act's provision for the return of land in case it is not developed five years after
acquisition makes no sense. This is like asking you to sell your house if you have not lived in it for
some time. What I do with what I have bought is my business, not the seller's. Moreover, the prices of
land don't stay still. No landowner can hope to get the land back at the same price he sold it for. The
idea of returning land is not only daft, but unimplementable in practice. The NDA version thankfully
ends this nonsense.

Seventh, the assumption that giving up fertile land will impact food production is erroneous. It is
Luddite thinking. Food production depends on improving agricultural productivity by investing more
in it. This calls for land consolidation, mechanised farming, more contract (or even corporate)
farming, use of improved techniques, and introduction of new technology, including genetically-
modified seeds, among other things. None of this is possible if Indian agriculture is going to have to
support so many people with tiny parcels of land. Not just industry and infrastructure, even
agricultural growth needs land consolidation - which means getting people to sell small patches of
land and move to urban areas or to non-agricultural jobs.

It is nobody's case that the poor farmer must be robbed to feed rapacious corporate greed with cheap
land. But it cannot be anyone's case that the poor must be bound hand-and-foot to underproductive
land. Land gets undervalued when too many people are dependent on it. So it is important to get
people off land.

The paradox of land is that the people who own it will not benefit unless they are able to sell it. They
are sitting on a valuable asset, but encashing it needs them to let go of it. The purpose of the UPA law
is to ensure that they find it as difficult as possible to realise value from their land.

It is this hidden paradox that the Land Acquisition Ordinance solves by making acquisitions easier.
The Act pushes land owners to sell in their own long-term interest. But no one wants to put it this way.

The only reason why politicians are working up a lather over the NDA bill is simple: they are mostly
land owners and land hoarders with their own vested interests. It is no secret, that politicians are
benami owners of urban land too. They are using the poor to argue their own case.

The real joke is this: a right-wing government is citing "eminent domain" and public purpose in
speeding up land acquisitions; the opposition is from the left, which is arguing for private property,
especially landed interests.

Source: http://m.firstpost.com/business/...
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Dilsher Singh, Supporter of clean politics and the mixed economy.


Written Oct 12, 2015
Originally Answered: What is the Land Acquisition Bill all about? Is it as bad for the nation as its critics claim?
land Acquisition has been a major hurdle in acquiring land for public interest in our country. It is
an issue over which our country have gone through heated debates. India have experienced violent
protests against the compulsory acquisition of land. Apart from the direct protests against compulsory
acquisition of land, in many cases the acquisition affected people have been approaching judiciary to
dispute the amount of compensation provided by the government.
At independence ,67% of population derived its livelihood from agriculture and contribution to
agriculture in GDP was 60%. Today , still 67% of people depend on agriculture but its contribution to
GDP has declined to 15% and this gap is increasing as agriculture growth is falling every year and
every year population is increasing. So there is requirement of diversification such that people
depending on agriculture should shift towards other sectors.

For understanding the land acquisition, let us first understand the concept of eminent domain.
Eminent Domain describes the power to take property from individual for national interest . The
doctrine is based on two principles:
1) welfare of people is of the utmost importance.
2) Public necessity is greater than private necessity.
Constitution of India states that state must pay compensation at market value for the land
acquired.Through various amendments in constitution , Right to property has become a
Constitutional right rather than fundamental right.

In 2013, Government of India came up with new land acquisition Bill known as LARR (Land
Acquisition , Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 ) which came into force on 1st
January , 2014. Till 2013, Land Acquisition was governed by Land Acquisition Act 1894 in which
various amendments have been made over the time.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ri...

The main objective of LARR 2013 was to make land acquisition a transparent procedure and to ensure
that the landowner whose land was acquired shall get fair compensation and also a fair amount of
money for rehabilitation and resettlement.

Consent Clause:
The act states that when the land has to be acquired for public purpose, the state shall acquire land
directly . however , consent of the owner is required for private companies. Consent of at least 80% of
project affected families shall be obtained. In case of PPP (Public Private Partnership ) model, 70% of
consent is required. It also include the urgency clause which states that land can be invoked in case of
disaster, national defense and rehabilitation of people .

Social impact Assessment


It is process to know that what impacts does a particular project have on a society. This assessment is
done before the project begins.

Unused land:
If the project doesn't start within five years, the land shall be returned to farmer.

Multi crop land:


The Act forbids land acquisition when acquisition would include multi-crop irrigated land if in case it
was acquired , the state shall create equivalent area of land at some other ares for agriculture purpose.

benefits:
land acquisition became a transparent procedure and fair amount if compensation was proposed to a
land owner. It would greatly help the people to come out of agriculture sector .

Disadvantages:
The act mentions about 70-80% of the consent. This is hardly feasible. It will certainly put the growth
at stagnation .It would be better if the consent required shall be reduced to a simple majority.

Proposed amendments:
The current government (National Democratic Alliance ) proposed amendments through their
ordinance.
The consent clause which was specified in LARR, 2013, Narendra Modi government
does away with it even for Industrial corridors, Public Private Partnership projects.
Government also removed Social Impact Assessment
Multi-crop irrigated land can also be acquired.
LARR ,2013 says the land unutilized for 5 years should be returned to the owner, but the
amendment proposed by NDA government intends to change to 5 years or any period specified
at the time of setting up the project.
These amendments have faced huge criticism
Opposition (including INC, Left parties, SP, BSP, JDU and LJD) firstly asks as if why
Government was in so much hurry that this bill was bought by the ordinance without any formal
discussion in the parliament.
Secondly they criticize it by saying that this bill was to benefit only to the industrialists
(specially to the real estate companies) by acquiring at a very low price and selling at much
higher prices.
Acquiring of multi-crop irrigation would effect food security of India.
This would lead to further insecurity of landless laborers.
If Land is acquired and project doesn't begins then the land would be wasted. According
to CAG report, 40% of land is reaming unused in SEZs (Special Economic Zones).
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Atish Sharma, An Engineer, An MBA, Sports History Politics and Mythology enthusiast
Written Apr 30, 2015
Originally Answered: What is the Land Acquisition Bill all about? Is it as bad for the nation as its critics claim?
As pointed out by people who have answered that it is good for the overall growth of India specially
the industrial sector. It can help in creating jobs, bring in investments. But we should look at the cons
and then decide whether it is the only way forward.

I would like to go by a personal experience of mine.

In 2008 I met a farmer near my native village in Madhya Pradesh who had 10 acres of land on which
he grew sugarcane and extracted jaggery later on.
In this 10 acres he had his home and the farmer and his brothers family were quite satisfied with the
income they recieved from the farmland.
But by 2010 they had to give the land to government for an irrigation project on Pench river. In return
of the land they were entitled for a plot of land in sub-urban area of nearby city as well as
compensation of 15 lakhs.

Here arises the question whether this compensation is enough for 2 families to survive in an urban
area?

The cost of building a home for 2 families on the given plot (20ft *30 ft) would cost this farmer around
7-8 lakhs. What about the business, is he fit for doing business in the urban environment and what
about the families can they adjust easily. The education, healthcare and other daily needs of these
families will definitely cost higher and in 7-8 lakhs it is nearly impossible to get all these things and to
start a sustainable business when you have no prior experience. A person leading a healthy and
respectable life would never accept these conditions but what if he has no choice in this.

This is a draconian clause in amended bill where consent is not needed for SEZs, Dams and
irrigation projects even when its a PPP project. Means a private warehouse or education
institute can deprive a community of their land holdings.

The other clause is acquirer and administration cannot be persecuted without prior coonsent of
central government which would lead to huge corruption.

The farmer's story which I have told is the case wherein compensation and rehabilitation is effectively
done. But we can see from the statistics that people who have been displaced from 1950s haven't been
fully rehabilitated yet. Yes its been 65 years and generations ahve been deprived of their rights. Any
governement who wants the land acquisition bill should first prove themselves by rehabilitating
people who have suffered for the development of others.

The total number of people displaced for development projects is 60-65 million in India. In India,
This amounts to around one million displaced every year since Independence, says a report
released in 2012 by the UN Working Group on Human Rights in India (WGHR). Of these displaced,
over 40 per cent are tribals and another 40 per cent consist of dalits and other rural poor.

The tribals are the real indigeneous people and their way of life is not the one which can be sustained
by Smart cities or urban dwellings. They need forests and nature to survive.

The compensation which is around 2 times the market value (calculation of which is questionable)
and on the basis of income of Rs 928/month is too low. And what in the case of disputed lands of
family disputes their is no clause for these cases. The people who are landless workers which is
majority of Indian population will get nothing except the house they lived in.

In the current form land acquisition bill can be draconian.


Is there a need of it. Yes there is but the governemnt will have to do something more for the displaced
people. Its hard to estimate their social losses and economic losses too. People who haven't lived in
rural areas and seen agro based lives, it is hard for them to imagine the pain of these people.

I hope govt will understand the fears of farmers and try to find a way which takes India forward.

As noted by Professor Amartya Sen, the India-born Nobel Laureate in economics, claims prohibiting
the use of fertile agricultural land for industries is ultimately self-defeating. Sen claims industry is
based near cities, rivers, coast lines, expressways and other places for logistical necessities, quality of
life for workers, cost of operations, and various reasons. Sen, further suggests that even though the
land may be very fertile, industrial production generates many times more than the value of the
product produced by agriculture. History of industrialisation and global distribution of industry hubs,
Sen claims, show that the locations of great industry, be it Manchester, London, Munich, Paris,
Pittsburgh, Shanghai or Lancashire, these were all on heavily fertile land. Industry always competes
with agriculture, Sen claims, because the shared land was convenient for industry for trade and
transportation. Amartya Sen further argues that in countries like Australia, the US or Canada, where
agriculture has prospered, only a very tiny population is involved in agriculture. Agriculture prospers
by increasing productivity and efficiency. Most people move out to industry. Industry has to be
convenient, has to be absorbing. When people move out of agriculture, total production does not go
down; rather, per capita income increases. For the prosperity of industry, agriculture and the
economy, India needs industrialisation. Those in India, who in effect prevent industrialisation, either
by politically making it impossible for entrepreneurs to feel comfortable in starting a business, or by
making it difficult to buy land for industry, do not serve the interest of the poor well, claims Sen.

Yes we need this act but with some more amendments.


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Ravindra Bhandari, Interested in Politics, International relations, Indian Economy


Written May 2, 2015
Originally Answered: What is the debate of land acquisition all about?
Land Acquisition Bill (Amended) 2015 as passed by Lok Sabha:

1.Earlier the acquisition for private purposes was limited to 'Private Companies, which are registered
under the Companies Act. Now it has been extended to any 'Private Entity' that includes
proprietorship, partnership, NGO or any other entity.
2.In the name of infrastructure, now the government can acquire land for private educational
institutions and private hospitals as well, which were specifically excluded by the original Act
(Amendment to Section 1 b (i))
3.As reported earlier, all projects related to defence have been exempted. The crucial thing is that
'defence' has been defined now to include "any project vital to national security" and "defence
production". This definition can include all kinds of infrastructural projects and privately owned
projects. (Insertion of new Section 10A)
4.Original Act gave relief to those farmers whose lands were acquired more than 5 years ago but where
the process was not completed till now. They were to be given the benefit of compensation under the
new Act. Now the Amendment limits this benefit to only those few cases where the delay was not due
to any judicial order or pending case.(Amendment to Section 24 (2))
5.The original stringent provision about punishment for violation of this Act by any government
official has been reversed. Earlier the Head of the Department was held responsible if the violation
took place with their knowledge and connivance. The Amendment removes this provision and actually
provides special immunity to the Govt. officials under Section 197 of CCP. There wont be any action
against a Govt official fro violating this Act without sanction from the Govt. (Amendment to Section
87)
6.The original provision of returning the land to original owner if not utilized within 5 years has been
removed. Now the Govt can retain the land for longer without utilizing it, if the "period specified for
the project" is longer. (Amendment to Section 101)
7.The Govt has given itself the power of "removal of difficulty" for five years, instead of the original
two years. (Amendment to Section 113) Basically every positive feature of the original Act (which was
passed with BJP's active support) has been annulled. All those who respect democracy and who care
for the farmers must oppose this Ordinance.
The government proposes to exempt five categories of Acquisitions from the procedural requirements
of the 2013 Act. These five categories are: defence, industrial corridors, rural infrastructure, affordable
housing including housing for the poor and any infrastructure including social infrastructure in PPP
mode where the land is owned by the government. Just look at these four categories and imagine what
greedy builders, politicians and bureaucrats can do with these five categories. The government's
amendment would mean that now social Impact assessment, food security assessment & consent of
70% of land owners will not be required before acquiring land for five broad categories that the
government has specified .Basically they would be able to fit every acquisition under one of these five
categories. so, in effect the Amendment annuls the Act itself.

P.S. It is for your information. There are few new amendments added in the new bill after the re-
promulgation of the ordinance . For those go through the link: Page on prsindia.org
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Shashank Rajak, IIT Kharagpur. Dedicated to the service of the nation forever!!!
Written Apr 21, 2015
Originally Answered: What is the land acquisition bill?
A Bill is different from an Act.

A Bill is a draft introduced in the parliament which after passing through both the houses and
President's approval becomes an Act.

Land Acquisition Act was passed in the year 2013 by UPA and current NDA gov wants to make some
changes in this Act for which it has introduced a BILL in the parliament which is LARR (Amendment)
Bill.

Currently this BILL is pending in the parliament for approval The Right to Fair Compensation and
Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015

Land Acquisition Act is an Act which allows the Government Body (this body can be Central Gov,
State Gov or any organisation under the gov) the acquisition of land in the country for development
work.

In 2013, the UPA gov passed the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (LARR)
popularly called as Land Acquisition Act. This act protects farmer's rights against exploitation and
provide them an appropriate amount of compensation. No land can be acquired without the consent
of farmers and a proper Social Impact Assessment of that area.

In totality, this Act is a powerful tool for farmers against any land exploitation by industrialist and
frauds.
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Nishith Animesh
Updated Mar 17, 2015
Many people are mentioning that whats the problem if farmers are getting 4x of their land price. Here
is the problem.

1. 4x is not a fixed price, the states have option to vary the price between 2x to 4x. Haryana govt.
made good use of this provision and issued the notification that all over Haryana the compensation
will be 2.2x so even if you are taking land near Gurgaon you will have to pay only 2.2x.

2. In almost all the cases whats happening is that if industry needs 25 acres of land they will take 100
acres and when 75% are not utilized they don't return the land to farmers they convert it in plots
and sell it at higher rates. SO within a year, the farmers who gave their land for the development of
country feel cheated as their land were being sold in front of them and they were given minimum
compensation possible for it.

3. The land acquisition ordinance contains every provisions to safeguard the rights of
Industrialists but there is no provision about the time frame in which payments should
reach the effected farmers. Farmers need to run from pillar to post to get the compensation.
There are even few examples that its been 10 years and people have still not received the
compensation for it.

4. No social Impact Analysis: Govt. is saying that it will take a long time to do so but in reality they
have not conducted even a single social impact analysis to find out what amount of time will it take.
Now without social impact analysis we will never know that if local people will get even a single
benefit from development projects or not. What will be the long term and short term effect on their
lives?

Just for an example:


Hirakud Dam was finished in 1957 and after 50 years people are still waiting to get compensation.
This is just one example.
Hirakud dam: Displaced families seek rehabilitation
There is no development without social justice. We can't ignore 50% of Indians so that we can achieve
higher GDP.

EDIT: Following amendments were made in the bill.

1. Social infra under PPP no more in exempted category


2. Panchayat's nod may be mandatory for acquiring tribal land
3. Govt may acquire land for govt bodies, corporations
4. Farmers may get right to appeal/complain over land acquisition hearing and redressal of
grievances at the district level
5. Ceiling on land for acquisition in industrial corridors
6. Hassle free mechanism for grievance redressal of land losers
7. Replace term 'private entity' with 'private enterprise'
8.Limiting the industrial corridor to one km on both the sides of the highways and railway lines
9.Compulsory employment to one member of the affected family of farm labourers
Read more at: Land Acquisition Bill passed in Lok Sabha, Shiv Sena abstains from voting
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Prerana Saraf, Advocate, Law Enthusiast, Ardent reader and writer


Written Aug 6, 2015
Originally Answered: What are the arguments on both sides of the Land Acquisition Bill of 2015?
The NDA government seeked to bring about the following amendments through the 2015 bill. they
are:
Removal of consent and social impact assessment- under the UPA led Act, land could be
acquired with 70% of land owners consent for public-private partnership programmes and 80%
of land owner consent for private entities. However, the NDA made an exemption as to the
consent and assessment for five purposes Industrial corridors, Public Private Partnership
projects, Rural Infrastructure, Affordable housing and Defense.
The UPA led Act provided that, if the land is unutilized for 5 years then it would be
returned to the land owner but the NDA ordinance provided that land will be returned if it
unutilized for 5 years or any period specified during the time of setting up of project.
Earlier, any private company could acquire land, now private company is replaced
withprivate entity. A private entity is an entity other than a government entity, and could
include a proprietorship, partnership, company, corporation, non-profit organisation, or other
entity under any other law.
Under the new law, government officials cannot be prosecuted if they commit an offence
during the process of acquisition.
13 legislations that were previously exempted are brought under the purview of the Act
in the compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement provisions. This is however, beneficial as it
brings about a uniform policy as to compensation and rehabilitation, which was absent earlier.
It is the argument of the UPA that no consent and SIA, the change of private company to private entity
would result in rich people and corporates buying land without considering the fate of the farmers.
Thus, the bill was considered to be anti-farmer. Also, no prosecution against government officials
meant more power inviting more corruption which India is in no dearth of already.

However, the NDA Government has lost the battle and dropped all these amendments almost bringing
the law back to how it was in 2013. So, Congress seems to have won this battle against the BJP and I
think its for the best.

For more, please visit: A Buoyant Land Acquisition Bill: India


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Ankit Kumar, Indian by birth, Indian by heart


Written Mar 29, 2015
Originally Answered: What is the land acquisition bill about and why are people opposed to it?
Land Acquisition bill 2015
Till 2013, India followed 1894 land bill act which allowed the government to take owner land for
countrys growth.
In 2013, UPA government brought an amendment and passed a bill regarding the same. According to
that bill, from 1 January 2014, 1894 land act bill was scraped.
Land acquisition bill 2014 came into existence.
Now, BJP led government brought a new land bill. It includes many amendments to NDA 2014 bill.
I have made some comparison between the 2 bills.
Read point no.1 from UPA and then 1 from NDA

UPA January 2014


1.Necessary to start work within 5 years

2.If work is not started, land will be returned to owner

3. Approval of 80% of land owners is must and if the project is owned fully by government 70% people
should agree

4. Owner can go to court against the acquisition

5. Government cant take cultivable land

6.For individual land, approval of landlord is must

NDA December 2014/ January 2015

1. Work can be started after 5 years also since main focus was on nuclear plants, housing construction
and railway which takes more than 5 years

2. No such provision.
.
3.Only 51% approval is needed, since even in parliament only majority vote is needed

4. No, he cant. Instead 4 times compensation according to market price will be offered.

5. Now even cultivable land can be taken

6. If government wants, it can take the land without approval

.7 If owner doesnt take the compensation, it will go to government treasury.

14.20 crore hectare lands is used for farming.


6.70 Crore hectare is covered by forest.
5.50 Crore hectare is unused cultivable land.
4 crore hectare lands is non cultivable.

17 lakh acre lands belong to defense ministry and 4.32 hectare belongs to Indian railways.
18.65 lakh crore projects are stuck in the halfway because the bill is not passed.

China follows land acquisition law 1999 which allows it to take any land without approval from owner.
About 49% of Indian population is involved in agriculture and in return agriculture
leads to only 13.7% of Indias total GDP.

If we want to move on the path of development and we want foreign investors, this bill
need to be passed.

ONE important thing that we need to understand is that as per this bill, farmers land
are a part of proposal. It's nothing like only farmers land will be taken.

Impact of Amendment of Land Acquisition Bill


Indias new land acquisition Bill, praised in some quarters and reviled in others, is a
complex piece of legislation. It was passed by the Lok Sabha on Thursday and will
likely be passed by the Rajya Sabha shortly as well. The government has issued a
document explaining the tenets of the Bill that offers a comprehensive explanation
of a law that will change how land is acquired and owners are compensated in India.
Some frequently asked questions on the land acquisition, resettlement and
rehabilitation Bill:
What is the significance of the new title The right to fair compensation
and transparency in land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement
Bill 2012?
The title of the old law conveyed that its primary purpose was to expedite the
acquisition of land. However, the principle objective of the new Bill is fair
compensation, thorough resettlement and rehabilitation of those affected, adequate
safeguards for their well-being and complete transparency in the process of land
acquisition. The title has been amended to reflect this.
Why is there a need for a new Bill?
There is unanimity of opinion across the social and political spectrum that the
current Law (The Land Acquisition Act 1894) suffers from various shortcomings.
Some of these include:
Forced acquisitions: Under the 1894 legislation once the acquiring
authority has formed the intention to acquire a particular plot of land, it can
carry out the acquisition regardless of how the person whose land is sought to
be acquired is affected.
No safeguards: There is no real appeal mechanism to stop the process of
the acquisition. A hearing (under section 5A) is prescribed but this is not a
discussion or negotiation. The views expressed are not required to be taken on
board by the officer conducting the hearing.
Silent on resettlement and rehabilitation of those displaced: There are
absolutely no provisions in the 1894 law relating to the resettlement and
rehabilitation of those displaced by the acquisition.
Urgency clause: This is the most criticised section of the Law. The clause
never truly defines what constitutes an urgent need and leaves it to the
discretion of the acquiring authority. As a result almost all acquis...
(more)
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Gaudham Pragadesh, Engineer and Research Analyst @ Market Research Firm


Written Apr 27, 2015
Originally Answered: What is the Land Acquisition Bill all about? Is it as bad for the nation as its critics claim?
Morality is what the rich and powerful dictates. I am a capitalist with a heart. Why is
the government not focusing on improving the agriculture sector? Agriculture is as
important as Manufacturing.

Rather than providing subsidies, the government can bring down the costs related to
farming by introducing numerous measures. Establishing Cooperative societies to
eliminate intermediaries, Suppling advanced farming machines through cooperative
societies, introducing best farming practices, improving insurance penetration,
employing agricultural scientist to coordinate with economists to solve issues related
to costs. Help farmers with another White Revolution. Promote biofertilizers for
organic produces. End of the day, we all benefit from healthy food.
A single Coconut is sold at 7 rupees in Thanjavur district and the same product is
sold at 15 - 20 rupees in Chennai. Why should an intermediary benefit when the
consumers and producers suffer? That's the place government should step in and
form a cooperative entity that bears all the costs associated with transportation of
produces and management of the inventory. It can also tax and pass the surplus
benefits to consumers and producers. This will also help them to understand demand
and supply in the market. Also, the government can map "who produces what"
effectively.

Subsidy and no taxation for farming can never be considered as solutions. No one
needs charity. My family produces food items and we are not beggars. the sector is
the largest employer and contributes 13% to GDP. Why not try to build on it? Why
can't sugar mills part some of the profits made from the byproduct ethanol? Why
can't we have more food processing companies? By eliminating farmers, the country
eliminates food security and the raw materials for an important industry.

Half of the people who support the bill doesn't know what farming or agriculture is.

Why can't the government ask corporations to pay rent to the farmers or act as an
intermediary in collecting the rents? This proposal doesn't make economic sense to
the corporations. When the government's proposal doesn't make economic sense to
farmers, Why can't they refuse?

More Importantly...

The Bill is good in its form but farmers frankly don't like getting involved with
governments because it never keeps the other end of the deal.

A good government is one that creates happiness for the majority (not through
freebies but through opportunities) All governments are trying take advantage of the
economically weaker sections and maybe that's human nature.

Why don't Modiji apply his mind in reviving agriculture? (I support BJP and ADMK)
It is not easy but very much possible.

We should focus on building more local businesses than bringing more corporations
into the country. We don't have to challenge China or have short-sighted schemes.
We need long-term plans for Growth.
The government needs to build platforms on which we can program our future. We
don't need an aggressive economic approach but an approach that is sustainable and
strong in the long-term perspective.
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Amarnath Swamy
Written Feb 25, 2015
Originally Answered: Is the new Land Acquisition bill bad?
The below chart shows the main changes that have been made in the 2014 ordinance
which might help you decide for yourself.

You can read a detailed notification here: Page on dolr.nic.in

UPA II
introduced The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition,
Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013 LARR Act 2013 in Lok Sabha and passed by
the Lower House.

The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and
Resettlement (Second Amendment) Bill 2015 LARR (Second Amendment) Bill 2015 was
introduced in Lok Sabha by the NDA government on 11 May 2015. The same has been
pending in the Rajya Sabha.
Lets see how the two differ in approach and content.

Compensation, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Provisions

LARR Act 2013

The act exempted 13 laws, including national Highways Act, 1956 and the Railways Act,
1989 from its purview but brought the compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement aspects
in consonance with LARR Act 2013 by 1 January 2015.

LARR (Second Amendment) Bill 2015 introduced in Lok Sabha

The Bill ensures that R&R and Compensation provisions of 13 Acts are in consonance with
the Act.

Categories for exemption

The LARR Act 2013

The Act identified five categories for land use;

Defence
Rural Infrastructure
Affordable Housing
Industrial Corridors established by the government
Infrastructure projects including PPP in cases where the government owned the land. No
consent was required in cases of government projects.
LARR (Second Amendment) Bill 2015 introduced in Lok Sabha

Retained as above.

Consent clause for land acquisition

The LARR Act 2013

The Act stated that in cases of private land acquisition for private projects, 80% owners
consent must be obtained, whereas in PPP projects 70% owners consent must be obtained.
The Bill allows the government to exempt the five categories of projects mentioned above
from this provision, through a notification.

LARR (Second Amendment) Bill 2015 introduced in Lok Sabha

Sections of the Act that will not apply to the above mentioned five types of projects are:

Need for obtaining consent of 80% land owners in cases where the land acquired in for a
private project and in case of PPP projects, obtaining consent from 70% land owners.
Undertaking a Social Impact Assessment Study (SIA)
Limits on acquiring multi-cropped land and other related agriculture land.
Social Impact Assessment (SIA)
The LARR Act 2013

Obtaining SIA was made mandatory for all projects to identify the affected families and to
assess the cost of social impact as a result of the project. Exceptions were provided for in
special cases of urgency as per Section 40, or in cases of irrigation-related projects where
Environment Impact Assessment was required.

LARR (Second Amendment) Bill 2015 introduced in Lok Sabha

The government has to issue a notification prior to exempting SIA.

Restrictions on Irrigated Multi-Cropped Land

The LARR Act 2013

The LARR Act 2013 put restrictions on acquisition of irrigated multi-cropped land and
similar agriculture land beyond the limit, as defined by the government.

LARR (Second Amendment) Bill 2015 introduced in Lok Sabha

The government may exempt the five categories mentioned above but has to issue a
notification before exempting limits on multi-cropped land and agricultural land, while
ensuring that the land to be acquired is within the minimum land required.

Return of Unutilized Land

The LARR Act 2013

The Act states that any land acquired under the Act and which remains unutilized, must be
returned to the original owners or the land bank within a period of five years or as defined in
the agreement at the time of land acquisition.

LARR (Second Amendment) Bill 2015 introduced in Lok Sabha

Same as above, but stated that the period be defined as later of five years or as defined in the
agreement at the time of land acquisition.

Time Period for Retrospective Application

The LARR Act 2013

The Act stated that in cases where land was acquired under The Land Acquisition Act, 1894,
the same would continue to apply. However, LARR Act 2013 would apply in cases where the
land was awarded five years or more prior to the LARR act 2013 but possession of land was
not taken and no compensation paid. In such cases, LARR Act 2013 would apply.

LARR (Second Amendment) Bill 2015 introduced in Lok Sabha

While calculating the time period for retrospective application, the following periods will not
be counted:
Delay on account of stay order from court
The period specified in the order of the Tribunal
Time period when possession of land was taken but compensation was lying with the court or
any other designated account.
Reward and Rehabilitation of Affected Families

The LARR Act 2013

The Act allows for one family member of the person offering land to be employed in a
project on that land or elsewhere, as part of the reward and rehabilitation.

LARR (Second Amendment) Bill 2015 introduced in Lok Sabha

The Bill clarifies that employment will be provided to one member of the affected family of
farm labour.

Establishment of LARR Authority

The LARR Act 2013

The Act allows for a Land Acquisition Reward and Rehabilitation Authority to be established
which can be approached by anyone with a grievance regarding compensation provided in
lieu of land acquisition under the Act.

LARR (Second Amendment) Bill 2015 introduced in Lok Sabha

LARR Authority must hold its hearing in the same district where the land acquisition has
taken place, after obtaining reference from the District Collector and giving advance notice to
all concerned parties.

Private Company versus Private Entity

The LARR Act 2013

The Act covers private companies, as defined under the Companies Act, 1956, which acquires
land for public purpose.

LARR (Second Amendment) Bill 2015 introduced in Lok Sabha

The term private company was replaced with private entity and defined as an entity other
than government entity and including partnership, company, corporation, proprietorship, non-
profit organisation etc.

Land Acquisition for Private Hospitals and Private Educational Institutions

The LARR Act 2013

Land acquired for setting up a private hospital or a private educational institution was kept
out of the purview of the Act.
LARR (Second Amendment) Bill 2015 introduced in Lok Sabha

This provision was removed, thus, keeping out private hospital and educational institutes.

Provision for offences by the Government

The LARR Act 2013

The Act holds the head of the concerned government department responsible for any offence
committed by the department, unless he or she can justify the offence being committed with
his or her knowledge or in cases where he or she can demonstrate due diligence undertaken to
prevent the offence form happening.

LARR (Second Amendment) Bill 2015 introduced in Lok Sabha

The Bill removed this section and instead stated that prior approval of the government is
required before proceeding to take any legal action.

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Prashant Sonkar
Written Feb 27, 2015
Originally Answered: What is the Land Acquisition Bill all about? Is it as bad for the nation as its critics claim?
Well, I will try to make things simple without getting into much technicality

To understand the Land Ordinance Bill, One has to have some insight of the history
behind the Land Reforms in india.

As Such Land Reforms refers to the matter's related change in ownership of the land

The issue about the land acquisition started during the british rule in india,
Britishers with the view to gain maximum benefit enacted a law that regulated the
method of acquisition of the land in india, the sole purpose of the enactment was to
get maximum profits, therefore this colonial legislation doesnt cared about the
people whose lands were acquired for the purpose, the people were paid very less and
there was no effort to resettle and rehabilitate them, but at that time India being a
dominion could not do much, as no one was there to listen to the plight of the people.

One thing which must be noted here is that Land is just not an asset in India, people
in india have some sentiments attached to it, in india livelihood of many farmer's are
attached to their land, which is also where they live.

Therefore depriving a person of their land, actually bring a BIG shift in his life, a shift
that just cant be compensated with the money he gets after selling his share.
Well, just after the independence, India adopted the same colonial law which was
enacted by the Britishers, lands were acquired (both by private and govt ) under the
same gruesome law, apart from being unjust to the poor people's and farmers, this
law lead to the acquisition of the land of the poor people for some govt purpose but
was being given to the private corporates at a meager cost's.

All these issues's came into discussion after the independence of the India, and then
there was felt a need to amend this colonial legislation,

As Land is one of the basic and necessary inputs for any developmental project, there
arises a need to balance the interest of the developmental projects (by govt or
private's) via-a-vis the interests of the poor people,

Therefore after a course of long discussion over a period of 30 years, Right to Fair
Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation
and Resettlement Act (LARR), 2013 was enacted,

Some of the basic features of these acts were


1. Land could be acquired, only after a consent of 70/80 percent of the
people, depending on the purpose
2. Social Impact Assessment (SIA) to be conducted to get an idea of the
overall impact of the land acquisition on the people ( here poeple does not only
mean people whose lands are being taken but also other poeple who are affected
by it)
3. This act provided for a compensation that will be four time the market
value of the land
4. It also provided for a one time payment for resettlement of the people
5. And other benefits like member of the affected family to be given
employment in the project and etc
Therefore this piece of legislation actually acted as a bulwark against the interest of
the poor people,

But this act created a big time hurdle in the process of land acquisition, for eg cost of
the projects escalated like hell, acquisition of the land became a time taking and
complex process (getting concent of 80% people is not easy, this should be kept in
mind that there are numerous NGO's manipulating the minds of the poor people +
SIA is itself a time consuming process)

Therefore this legislation provided grounds for the stalling of the developmental
work and private investment, which started hurting the economy of the country,

The extent of the cumbersomeness of the process can be illustrated by the fact that
"Indian Tractor comany Mahindra And Mahindra actually produce their tractors in
TAIWAN and then import them in india"

One must understand that private investment will wait for no one, in case we a not
providing a apt environment (India is one of the backbencher when it comes to ease
of doing business), it will find new opportunities at some place else

Therefore after a heroic mandate in Loksabha elections, BJP (know for its pro
industry stand) aspired to dilute the existing law and therefore it passed the Land
Amendment Ordinance, 2014 to amend the LARR,2013

This New amendment actually erased the Concent Clause, SIA Clause for certain
class of projets ( eg irrigation project, Hydro power, roads and many more), in order
to remove the hurdles related to the land acquisition, to give a boost to the economy

This move of govt seems necessary for the stalled projects + the monetary
compensation provided to people should be enough to take care of them

But having things on paper is quite different from the reality,

In reality, lands are being acuired for the purpose but the affected people do not get
the compensation , this has actually happend in reality (all thanks to a poor state of
govenance in our country), eg people displaced after building the dam on narmada
are yet to get their share of compensation

Therefore this move of govt, actually bring this legislation equivalent to the land
legislation in the british era, where lands were acquired without paying the affected,

In an country where poors are not really getting what the deserve, an dilution in the
SIA and Consent clause will only add to their misery,

So i think that land reforms should be such that it does not becomes an hurdle in
developmental projects but at the same time poors should not be ignored completely
(which has been done since independence) just to make some rich person more
richer !
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Utkarsh Misra, Reader


Written Feb 27, 2015
Originally Answered: What is the Land Acquisition Bill of 2015?
The Bill will replace the ordinance promulgated by the government in December
2014, which had brought changes in the Right to Fair Compensation and
Transparency in Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation (Amendment)
Act (RFCTLARR) passed in 2013 by the UPA government. If the Bill is not passed in
this session, then the ordinance will lapse and cannot be introduced again.

Till now whenever the government acquires a land, it is done under the Land
Acquisition Act 1894. In 2007, the UPA government brought in The Rehabilitation
and Resettlement Bill to replace the Act.
After the Modi government took over in May 2014, it decided to make some
amendments in the Bill which have become a bone of contention. According PRS
Legislative Research these are:
1. Excluded Acts brought under the RFCTLARR Act: According to the Act 2013, 13
Acts were excluded from the RFCTLARR Act but with the new ordinance they are
now brought under its purview. Thus, it brings the compensation, rehabilitation and
resettlement provisions of these 13 laws in consonance with the Act.
2. Removal of consent clause in five areas: The ordinance removes the consent
clause for acquiring land for five areas - industrial corridors, public private
partnership projects, rural infrastructure, affordable housing and defence.
The ordinance also exempts projects in these five areas from Social Impact
Assessment and acquisition of irrigated multi-cropped land and other agricultural
land, which earlier could not be acquired beyond a certain limit.
3. Return of unutilised land: According to the Act 2013, if the land remains
unutilised for five years, then it needs to be returned to the owner. But according to
the ordinance the period after which unutilised land needs to be returned will be five
years, or any period specified at the time of setting up the project, whichever is later.
4. Time frame: The ordinance states that if the possession of acquired land under
Act 1984 is not taken for reasons, then the new law will be applied.
5. Word 'private company' replaced with 'private entity': While the Act 2013
stated that the land can be acquired for private companies, the ordinance replaced it
with private entity. A private entity is an entity other than a government entity, and
could include a proprietorship, partnership, company, corporation, non-profit
organisation, or other entity under any other law.
6. Offence by government officials: If an offence is committed by a government
official or the head of the department, then s/he cannot be prosecuted without the
prior sanction of the government.
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Prashant Singh Chauhan


Written May 3, 2015
Originally Answered: What is the Land Acquisition Bill all about? Is it as bad for the nation as its critics claim?
Why is there a need for a new Bill?
There is unanimity of opinion across the social and political spectrum that the
current Law (The Land Acquisition Act 1894) suffers from various shortcomings.
Some of these include:
Forced acquisitions: Under the 1894 legislation once the acquiring authority has
formed the intention to acquire a particular plot of land, it can carry out the
acquisition regardless of how the person whose land is sought to be acquired is
affected.
No safeguards: There is no real appeal mechanism to stop the process of the
acquisition. A hearing (under section 5A) is prescribed but this is not a discussion or
negotiation. The views expressed are not required to be taken on board by the officer
conducting the hearing.
Silent on resettlement and rehabilitation of those displaced: There are absolutely no
provisions in the 1894 law relating to the resettlement and rehabilitation of those
displaced by the acquisition.
Urgency clause: This is the most criticised section of the Law. The clause never truly
defines what constitutes an urgent need and leaves it to the discretion of the
acquiring authority. As a result almost all acquisitions under the Act invoke the
urgency clause. This results in the complete dispossession of the land without even
the token satisfaction of the processes listed under the Act.
Low rates of compensation: The rates paid for the land acquired are the prevailing
circle rates in the area which are notorious for being outdated and hence not even
remotely indicative of the actual rates prevailing in the area.
Litigation: Even where acquisition has been carried out the same has been
challenged in litigations on the grounds mentioned above. This results in the stalling
of legitimate infrastructure projects.
Recent observations by the Supreme Court: Justice Ganpat Singhvi of the Supreme
Court has observed, in the wake of repeated violations that have come to light over
the last few months, that the law has become a fraud. He observed that the law
seems to have been drafted with scant regard for the welfare of the common man.

Why does the government need to acquire land for private companies as
well as public-private partnership projects?

Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint


Land Records in most parts of the country are fragmented and disorganised. In
most cases they havent been updated for decades. The new law overcomes that by
ensuring the Collector updates the land records and also pays up to four times the
value to correct any inaccuracies.
If land is purchased then there are no benefits for livelihood losers who are usually
far greater in number than the land owners. This Bill ensures that they are taken care
of and not simply displaced.
The inequality in terms of bargaining power between large-scale corporations and
small farmers and other marginalised groups increases the likelihood of unfair
agreements. Contracts tend to be signed in favour of the party negotiating from a
greater position of strength. That is why government is required to bridge the gap
and bring balance to this relationship.
A legitimate need for acquisition by the state itself (to build public goods such as
roads, schools and hospitals) can be undermined and stalled by groups with vested
interests. If there is no sovereign power to compel these groups, a single individual or
group of individuals can hold a process hostage merely by refusing to part with land.
Further, in times of crisis such as war, famine and floods, coupled with absence of
legislation clarifying and guiding the states exercise of eminent domain, situations
can emerge jeopardising human lives.

What are the highlights of the new Bill?


Compensation: Given the inaccurate nature of circle rates, the Bill proposes the
payment of compensations that are up to four times the market value in rural areas
and twice the market value in urban areas.
R&R: This is the very first law that links land acquisition and the accompanying
obligations for resettlement and rehabilitation. Over five chapters and two entire
Schedules have been dedicated to outlining elaborate processes (and entitlements)
for resettlement and rehabilitation. The Second Schedule in particular outlines the
benefits (such as land for land, housing, employment and annuities) that shall accrue
in addition to the one-time cash payments.
Retrospective operation: To address historical injustice the Bill applies
retrospectively to cases where no land acquisition award has been made. Also in
cases where the land was acquired five years ago but no compensation has been paid
or no possession has taken place then the land acquisition process will be started
afresh in accordance with the provisions of this act.
Multiple checks and balances: A comprehensive, participative and meaningful
process (involving the participation of local Panchayati Raj institutions) has been put
in place prior to the start of any acquisition proceeding. Monitoring committees at
the national and state levels to ensure that R&R obligations are met have also been
established.

How does the compensation mechanism work?


In urban areas there is no multiplier. This means no enhancement of the market
value calculated occurs.
However a solatium of 100% (which currently exists at 30%) is imposed on this
market value calculated. This solatium amount is a compensation to ameliorate the
pain of forcible acquisition.
In rural areas the multiplier has been left entirely to the discretion of state
governments which may range on a sliding scale from 1 to 2 depending on the radial
distance from urban centres.
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Vedadnya Aghor, Politics is both problem and solution.


Written Apr 27, 2015
Originally Answered: What is the Land Acquisition Bill all about? Is it as bad for the nation as its critics claim?
Land Acquisition Bill Explained:
-----------------------------------------

Land acquisition is mainly for these govt sectors, not Corporates

1. Defence:For troops, storage of missiles etc

2. Rural infrastructure: Govt Schools& Hospitals, Transformers,pumping stations etc

3. Affordable housing:Every Indian poor should have own home, to reduce urban
slums

4. Industrial corridors: Corridors set up by the govt& govt undertakings for job
creation and the farmers to sell their produce

5.Irrigation canals and infrastructure

Priority of Acquisition:
-----------------------------

1. First Govt owned land to be used for projects

2. Next waste land

3. If the above two don't work, only then farmer land will be acquired.

Current Situation:
------------------------
Developmental,infrastructure &industrial projects worth crores of rupees are delayed
due to hurdles in land acquisition.
This deprives millions of landless people of job opportunities and forces them to
migrate to urban slums to look for livelihood

Benefits to farmers:
---------------------------
1. Farmers get 4 times the value of land as compensation if acquired by Govt
2. Authorizes farmers to sell their properties at the mkt price if sold to pvt parties

3. They don't fall a prey to real estate speculators

4. One govt job for one person in the family who has given their land
5. Most small farmers are looking for other sources of income as they are not able to
feed their family

Benefit to nation in general:


------------------------------------
1.Expedition of infrastructure projects,like railways, highways &power plants

2.Millions of young people get jobs, mainly in rural area, stops migration

3.Solves the biggest problem of agriculture:Irrigation-which can stop farmer suicides

Who it does not benefit???


----------------------------------
1. Land sharks and land mafia who don't want to let go of their land

2. Politicians calling themselves "farmers" and owning huge amount of land

3. NGOs who dont want this country to progress

Now you know why Political parties are opposing it!

Lets support Govt.in developing both Urban and Rural Bharat!


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Sidhant Mahipal
Written Feb 26, 2015
Originally Answered: What is the Land Acquisition Bill all about? Is it as bad for the nation as its critics claim?
The Land Acquisition Bill was introduced along with the Food Security Bill in 2013,
which were both "pet projects" of the UPA in their last year. The Bill was introduced
at a time when the UPA sensed electoral defeat. As with all populist measures, once it
is introduced it is difficult to roll it back. To give you a features of the Bill:

For a typical rural household that owns the average of 3 acres of land, the Act will
replace the loss of annual average per capita income of Rs.11,136 for the rural
household, with:
four times the market value of the land, and
an upfront payment of Rs.1,36,000 (US$ 3,000) for subsistence,
transportation and resettlement allowances, and
an additional entitlement of a job to the family member, or a payment of
Rs.5,00,000 (US$ 11,000) up front, or a monthly annuity totaling Rs.24,000
(US$ 550) per year for 20 years with adjustment for inflation the option from
these three choices shall be the legal right of the affected land owner family, not
the land acquirer, and
a house with no less than 50 square meters in plinth area, and
additional benefits may apply if the land is resold without development,
used for urbanization, or if the land owner belongs to SC/ST or other protected
groups per rules of the Government of India

The above excerpt has been taken from Wikipedia. Do read the full article to get a
better view on it.
The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition,
Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013

I personally feel the Bill has been heavily biased towards land owners. It would make
any sort if project unfeasible if companies are to pay such high prices for acquiring
land. Even people who earlier willingly sold their private lands at market price will
now claim benefits under this Act. We're slowly moving towards a system that will
discourage trade between assets and away from a market economy.

I personally believe the Land Acquisition Bill was a good initiative to reform the
archaic land laws but the legislation initially implemented was irresponsible. Now,
correcting it in some cases might even make it worse.

P.S. I'd request you to read the wiki article before commenting on my stand.
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Kaushal Mhatre
Updated Apr 27, 2015
Originally Answered: What is the Land Acquisition Bill all about? Is it as bad for the nation as its critics claim?
The Land Acquisition Bill needs to be understood in two contexts- the economic
aspect and the political aspect- and I am doing this because you cannot separate
politics from economics. Saiprasad Bejgam has provided a great analysis from the
macro-economic point of view and should be read before mine. I am focusing on the
micro-economic aspect as it is through this angle which the Opposition is attacking
the Bill. I am also not focusing on the land-hoarding issue which some other answers
have dealt with sufficiently.

To give a brief summary of the Land Acquisition Act of 2013 brought by the UPA,
there were following key provisions:

- Land-owners whose land would be acquired by industry would be compensated 4X


the market value of the land if it is in a rural area and 2X the market value if it is in
an urban area

- At least one member of the displaced family will be provided employment

- For land to be acquired, consent of 70% of land-owners is required if the land is


acquired for a PPP project and 80% of land-owners if it is a private project.

- If the land remains unused for a period of 5 years or the duration specified at the
time of acquisition, the land shall be returned back to the land-owners.

- Compulsory Social Impact Analysis of all projects was required.

Now you need to understand the backdrop of why the UPA (Congress) would pass
the bill in 2013. The UPA had a pretty unenviable track record of generating
incremental stagflation over its 10-years and public sentiment was against it. On top
of that, the nation was gripped by what was called the Modi-wave. Now the Land
Acquisiton Act of 2013 was brought in to paint the UPA as pro-poor (whom they had
ignored for 10 years and who looked up to Modi to change their situation). The
campaign advertisements of the UPA during election time specifically reflected the
4X compensation. Another way they sought to scare this section was to paint Modi as
pro-corporates. Whatever industrial growth happened in Gujarat under Modi was
painted to be through crony capitalism. The B-team of the Congress- the AAP (sorry
AAP supporters, but policy-wise the AAP and Congress are mostly on the same page,
be it painting Mr. Modi and BJP as communal, pro-corporate and anti-poor or taking
a stance on issues like the Land Acquisition Bill or Net Neutrality) joined in the game
with a shriller voice, aided by Mainstream Media and funded by various NGOs.

Now consider a practical case- a 100 km highway needs to be built, for which the
land of 1 lac land owners is to be acquired. Let us imagine the market value of the
land to be 2 lac/ acre (which basically would put the land in a rural area at such a
rate). So if a person with a holding of 2 acres has to sell his land, he would be
compensated by Rs. 16 lac. BUT, this also requires the consent of 80000 land
owners. Remember the land owners are going to be practically illiterate, with no
training to make an informed decision. Even then, if there was a way to convince so
many people to give up their land, you would have a different problem- the Social
Impact Assessment. And it is here where the likes of Medha Patkar, Greenpeace,
Ford Foundation will enter to scare the land-owners into not giving their lands, and
showcase how the highway is going to damage the entire eco-system of the area
which is going to result in increasing instances of hereditary diseases among the
nearby residents.

The reason I am dwelling on the political aspect is very important here because you
need to see the behavior of the opposition parties in the Parliament. The UPA knew it
wasn't going to win the 2014 LS elections, but while going, what they could do is to
feed the economy with a poison-pill. By passing this law, they intended to make the
process of industrial development very difficult for the government which was set to
come in their place. Look at how every unrelated, insignificant issue is brought into
the Parliament discussions, with the Opposition washing out entire sessions and
making demands for the PM to make a statement (which should be an apology to
them which they won't accept). Since the legislations on the 2013 bill were very close
to the 2014 elections, the BJP could not afford to create a blockade for the passage of
the bill- because it would have cost them precious votes. It knew it could amend the
obnoxious clauses once it gets power. The UPA and other opposition parties (AAP
included) do not wish to see the NDA government showcase an alternative model of
economic growth which is inarguably far superior to what they claim to be their
model.

Now having considered all the above, we can analyze what features the current Bill
seeks to retain/change about the Land Acquisition Act, 2013:

- The compensation figure has been kept the same despite pressure from industry.

- At least one member from a displaced farmer family would have to be provided
employment. This is a slight change- from the previous bill which stated that one
member from every displaced family would be provided employment. What this
tweak will do is it will ensure that farmers' familes would benefit from the provision
(and not every other landowner whose land is acquired). Now if one person from a
family is employed as a minimum wage worker, the monthly income of the family is
going to increase by around Rs. 5-6K/month.

- Consent clause and SIA have been exempted for 5 purposes of land acquisition:
i) National Security,
ii) Defence,
iii) Rural Infrastructure including Electrification,
iv) Industrial corridors
v) Housing for the poor

A lot of hue and cry has been raised over this amendement. I have explained earlier
why meeting the consent targets set by the 2013 Act would be difficult to meet. The
80% consent requirement has led to almost no new land acquired for 2 years and
projects worth 300 billion dollars have stayed stalled. This has led to hindrance in
job growth, and the Opposition gets an opportunity to take potshots at the
government over this.

It is unreasonable for laypersons to understand the principle of Eminent Domain-


the principle states that in any circumstance regarding use of natural resources, the
public benefit would trump over the private benefit. What this means is if tomorrow
oil is struck under your house, the government is going to acquire your land to set up
an oil extraction facility (you then cannot say that the oil-well should belong to you).
Therefore in the case of large-scale infrastructure, which benefits the whole nation,
individual cannot reserve the right to stall a project on the basis of whether they wish
to give up their lands or not.

It is worth noting that even Congress ruled states had pressed for the elimination (or
at least a lowering) of the Consent clause. But the ultimate decision-maker in the
Congress is Sonia.

- Another fear which is being created by the Congress and AAP is farmers will
(randomly and indiscriminately) lose their land. It is to address this concern of the
Opposition that there has been an amendment to the Ordinance, by which only 1 km
of land on either side of a highway can be acquired through this route.

- Capital Intensive projects have long gestation periods (6-7 years). Imagine if a
nuclear power plant is being built, and within 5 years, 70% of it is complete. As per
the 2013 Act, since 5 years have lapsed, the land has to be transferred back to the
land-owners with an abandoned, incomplete nuclear plant. Does this clause make
any sense? And therefore the Ordinance seeks to strike down this clause.

- One critically (and by the Opposition, conveniently) ignored provision of the


Ordinance is this- the original land owners can buy back 20% of the land after paying
the development costs. Now we move back to the example of the 2-acre land-holder.
The ordinance gives him the right to buy back 0.4 acres of the land paying for the
development cost (let us assume it comes to around 1L). As per the compensation
figure, he has already received Rs. 16L. Now he can pay 1L from that to buy back 0.4
acre. But due to the development the market value of the land would have increased
6-7 times at least. So then this 0.4 acre could be sold at (0.4 x 2 x 6) = 4.8 lac.

So the net benefit of selling the land over say, 7 years for the land-owner would be
(16-1+4.8) = 19.8 lac, with 16 lac upfront and 3.8 lac after 7 years.

Plus s/he could use the upfront compensation to buy land elsewhere, build a pucca
house, buy more land at a different location. Also one member of his family has got a
non-farm income, which will reduce the impact of unruly weather on the family
finances.

By this way, as many as 4-5 crore households potentially could be provided a better
life. Now we come back to discussing politics. Why does AAP and Congress oppose
the Bill? If 4 crore households (=20 crore people) benefit from this arrangement, will
they ever think of voting for them? Their electoral fortunes rest in a future where the
poor remain poor, so that they can make freebie-offers for votes. NDA believes in
making the poor financially self-reliant and using them towards national asset-
building. And therefore if Modi gets the 10 years of power he is seeking, the nation
would forget the existence of leftist parties.

If you have concerns about what sort of impact the LAB will have on India's
agriculture, I am linking another of my answers here:

Kaushal Mhatre's answer to How will the passing of the land acquisition bill in India
affect its agricultural sector?
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Brian Valgo, Envious of artists


Written Feb 25, 2015
Originally Answered: What is the Land Acquisition Bill all about? Is it as bad for the nation as its critics claim?
Sorry for the long answer.

An order/authoritative law to introduce legislative changes is an Ordinance. Land


ordinance is all about making amendments to the existing land acquisition bill
(Acquiring land from the people by the government). The bill introduced by NaMo
government will replace the ordinance promulgated by the government in December
last year, which had brought changes in the earlier bill passed in 2013 by the UPA
government. The ordinance proposed has its pros and cons.

PROS:
1. The existing Act kept 13 most frequently used acts for Land Acquisition for
Central Government Projects out of the purview. These acts are applicable for
national highways, metro rail, atomic energy projects, electricity related projects,
etc. The present amendments bring all those exempted from the 13 acts under the
purview of this Act for the purpose of compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement.
Therefore, the amendment benefits farmers and affected families.
2. The proposed changes in the Land Acquisition Act would allow a fast track
process for defense and defense production, rural infrastructure including
electrification, affordable housing, industrial corridors and infrastructure projects
including projects taken up under Public Private Partnership mode where ownership
of the land continues to be vested with the government.

CONS:
1. The original Act requires the consent of 70 per cent of farmers in the area where
land is to be acquired for Public-Private Partnership projects. The new clause
exempts five categories from this rule - industrial corridors, public-private
partnership projects, rural infrastructure, affordable housing and defense.
2. In the earlier law, a social impact assessment was mandatory but the ordinance
exempts the five categories from this requirement.
3. The existing law says land will be returned to the original owner if it is unused for
five years. The proposed amendment scraps the five-year limit and says the land will
be returned if it is unused for the period specified for the project.
4. The current law has a provision to penalize bureaucrats for any violations. The
amended clause says government sanction will be required to prosecute civil
servants.
5. The earlier ordinance had excluded private hospitals and private educational
institutions from the list of infrastructure projects. The amended clause includes
them, which allows private companies to buy land at concessional rates.

In pre-land ordinance Tamil Nadu, protesters have overnight gone from being
fisherfolk and farmers to being declared enemies of the state, for demanding
clarifications about the safety of state-run Kudankulam nuclear power plant in the
middle of their fishing and farming areas. In a tragic list, more than 8,000 people
have cases of sedition against them; more than 18,000 have cases for waging war
against the state.

From Odisha, first information reports are registered by police against farmers
protesting land acquisition for a private sector steel plant. Besides unlawful
assembly, the police reports pin on them bizarre crimes like performing obscene acts
and songs, and import and export of counterfeit coins.

These are just two examples from two states, from a list that includes several
hundred from most states of India. And now, there is the ordinance.
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First, a basic reality. One hectare of a good rice farm produces 2300 KG of rice that fetches
about RS.20/KG for the farmer [$1 = Rs.63]. In other words, a hectare (2.5 acre) produces Rs.46000
worth of food every year. Reduce the expenses for fertilizer, seeds, pump etc that falls to less than Rs.
15000/hectare. We have TWO FARMERS sharing that Rs. 15000 per year of production or a monthly
earning of Rs. 600/farmer [with which he has to support a family].

Here is a simple exercise for you: if I have to increase the farmer's earnings
from Rs. 600/month upwards, what numbers would I have to change (hint:
look for the bolded terms)?

Second, there seems to be an unnecessary and illinformed alarm about farmer


numbers dropping. Let me paste the graph from the new article in question.

Source: Farmer population falls by 9 million in 10 years


In 1951, India had 98 million people working on farming. In 2014, we have
262 million people working in the farms. That is an *INCREASE* of near 3
times since independence.

We don't produce lands. That means we are adding more people working on
the same acre of land. Even with Green revolution our average farm
productivity has increased only twice. For instance, we are producing now
3000 kgs of wheat from a hectare of land compared to 1307 before green
revolution.

Source: Agriculture in India

Or in other words, almost every gain in green revolution is lost because India
has added 3 times more agricultural labor. The farmer is back to square one -
because the increase in productivity is neutralized by the increase in farmers.

In 2014, have nearly 2 farming workers for every hectare of farms. These two
combined produce 2200 kg of rice or 3000 kg of wheat. Or 1100 kg of rice per
farmer. This is the nearly same level they produced in 1951!

In summary, the Indian farmer is in the same position as they were in 1951,
because our growth in farming productivity is neutralized by increase in
number of farmers. While every other occupation has experienced an increase
in salaries, farmers are in the same position due to this simple fact.

Open your eyes to this fact and no point hitting your head against the wall.

SO, THEN WHY DO I READ A LOT ABOUT FARMER SUICIDES IN INDIA?


It is a pretty important problem. But, we need to dig more into that data.
Researchers looked into the problem of farmer suicides and the conclusion is
that farmers are no more likely to commit suicides than housewives, students
and other laborers in India. Suicide mortality in India: a nationally
representative survey.Suicide in rural India as a whole is high and that is the
problem we need to solve. In fact, among the unemployed, the suicide rate is
3x of farmers. One way to reduce suicide epidemic in rural India is to build
prosperity and that is the thing we need to focus on.

Farmer suicides in India is also not higher than a few other nations:
French farmers are committing suicide at alarming rates and farming by its
nature is a highly stressful profession: Page on oxfordjournals.org - This is one
reason why many are moving out of farming, not just in India but across the
world - Why Farmers Quit: A County-Level Analysis

WOULD NOT A DROP IN FARMERS CAUSE A DROP IN FOOD


PRODUCTION?
Not necessarily. Actually, our food production is growing. Let's also look at
what happened in the rest of the world. One German farmer produces more
food than 20 Indian farmers. Same for almost every developed nation. Thus,
the German farmers are richer, healthier and happier than the Indian farmers.

If we want to become as rich as Germany, our farmers individually would have


to produce more. We are slowly getting there. This productivity growth is
already happening and will continue to happen faster than the rate at which
the farmers are quitting. See how farming is changing in India.

Related Stories
Quora Question: Is the Working Class Getting Benefits from China's Economic
Boom?

HOW DO WE BUILD PROSPERITY


FOR THE FARMERS
AVERAGE FARMERS SALARY = TOTAL FOOD PRODUCTION / TOTAL
LABOR

By basic math, we have to both increase production and decrease in farming


labor for our farmers to have an increase in earnings. That is how we can
become developed. If you cannot change both factors change one of the them
drastically. It is basic math guys and not rocket science.

For production to increase, India needs:

1. Well educated farmers who can use best of modern tech.


2. To clear the anti-science folks blocking GMO crops that promise higher
production.
3. Better investment from both domestic and foreign companies.
In the meanwhile, we need to DRASTICALLY REDUCE THE TOTAL LABOR
INVOLVED IN FARMING . The decrease that is happening in the past couple of
years is mild. We need to plan for flood of them exiting farming and focus on
improving their skills to prepare them for factory and services. This is a
natural progression in economics that every developed nation went through.
That would also require us to rapidly increase the number of factories and
service businesses.

Instead of worrying about the reducing number of farmers, realize that this
reduction is essential for increasing farmer earnings & reducing poverty. If
anyone says otherwise, push them to do the basic numbers.

Before answering this question, I will paste data from this extensive and fascinating survey of Indian
farmers: Page on lokniti.org. This was done by Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in
December 2013. It will make you think differently about the state of farming in India. Unless we
understand the problems well, we cannot look for solutions.

Realization 1: They don't always like farming or


villages
A vast majority of the farmers are ready to quit farming and move to the city. Many of them are forced
in this occupation due to traditional occupation reasons. That is hundreds of millions of people who
are trapped into doing something they might not like and living in a place they hate.
Would you be very stressed if you are stuck in a dead end occupation with no future? Most of my
family members were involved in agriculture 3 generations ago and quit them. They are happier now.

Realization 2: It's the education and


opportunities
Like any other people, farmers do like to move to the city for education and better facilities. We have
to get out of this romantic, idyllic notions about the villages. A vast majority of Indian farmers care
about things like education, employment and facilities just like you and I.

Education of children is the biggest worry of farmers and not getting proper access to education and
employment for their children is increasing stress levels.
Realization 3: The power of rich, large farmers
in politics

Unlike the rich, large farmers it is the landless farmers who are open about getting Foreign
Investment into India.
If the landless believe so much, why doesn't the government do so. Because, a majority believe that
only the rich & large farmers benefit from the government schemes as they traditionally held power.
The lobby of richer farmers make many of the subsidies appear to be in the best interests of India,
while the poor farmers believe they get nothing.

Realization 4: Fix the economy and


infrastructure
Farmers have a variety of problems with farming. There is no one big smoking gun. But, economic
reasons are the predominant ones - inflation, low productivity, low income, low price, overall
economic ones. The rest of them - like flood/drought prevention, irrigation etc do with infrastructure.
Realization 5: State of farmers in non-Capitalist
states
Contrary to popular perceptions, farmers in Communist ruled states don't do that well. It is the
farmers in West Bengal and Kerala who hate farming the most.

In short, millions of farmers would love to quit farming and move to the cities because they love
education, employment and opportunities. We also have to realize that many/most of them don't like
to do farming nor like the villages. Not being able to provide their children education and economic
progress is contributing to the huge stress levels of farming fathers. Eventually this accumulated stress
possibly results in serious psychological conditions including suicides.

Finally, many of our farming policies - including those of curtailing foreign investments benefit the
small, but powerful rich landed class not the landless ones [if it may help, my great grandfather owned
massive lands as a mirasudar - a southern version of Zamindar - the powerful landed class].

Solutions:
1. Build more opportunities for education and employment. The top solution
doesn't even have anything to do with farming or agriculture. It has to do with education and
opportunities, because that is what most of our farmers want for their children. If their children
are happy, they are happy. If they are happy, they don't commit suicides.
2. Provide more access to banking: Most of India has no access to banking and have
to rely on local pawnbrokers. Let us spread the seeds of banking and modern finance to all of
India. Once you fix the money & investment part, a lot of other things get fixed.
3. Build new cities. Cities are the foundation of civilization [this is why we talk glowingly
of Indus Valley Civilization and various empires]. We have become de-urbanized over the
centuries of bleak fortunes. We now have to re-urbanize. This is what most farmers want.
Whether you like it or not, they will end up in the cities and contribute to growing slums. Build
new cities and settle this massive exodus.
4. Train people. Would you like to practice lifelong medicine when you hate blood and
needles? Then, why would force upon farming career on people who don't like. Let them find
new jobs and careers. In the lands and opportunities they leave behind, let some of the really
passionate educated folk build massive agri businesses. If everyone does what they are good at,
there will be less suicides and better productivity.
5. More infrastructure. Let there be more electricity to power the rural homes, more
warehouses to prevent wastage & improve earnings, more buildings for people to live, more
roads and ports for people to transfer their produce, more access to technology to be more
productive.

As Bill Clinton said in 1992, "It's the economy, stupid." Focus on building a rapidly growing economy
that provides education and employment opportunities to vast numbers of rural Indians and you
would solve the suicide epidemic not just among the Indian farmers but a bigger class of rural Indians
[oh btw, non-farming rural Indians tend to commit more suicides, but media doesn't even note that].