Millennium Post

Historic land acquisition act to come into force from 1 Jan

The historic Land Acquisition Act to provide just and fair compensation to farmers will come into force from 1 January next year, the government said on Tuesday.

Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh took the decision after consideration of another view, particularly from state governments, that the Act replacing a 119-year-old legislation should be notified from 1 April, 2014.

‘Sooner we notify the Act, lesser the uncertainty,’ he told reporters here and announced the decision to implement The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 on New Year day.

The new law received the assent of the President on 27 September.

Some state governments were of the view that if the law is notified during the beginning of the new financial year, they would get ‘some time’ to establish necessary infrastructure for its implementation.

With the Centre deciding to implement the Act early, state governments will have to soon set up at least six bodies including the state-level Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authority in each state to hear disputes arising out of projects where land acquisition has been initiated by the state or its agencies.

As per draft rules released by the ministry on Monday, the state governments should take immediate steps to create and establish the State Social Impact Assessment Unit, the office of the Commissioner Rehabilitation and Resettlement and the State Level Monitoring Committee.

The bill was brought as the archaic Act of 1894 suffered from various shortcomings including silence on the issue of resettlement and rehabilitation of those displaced by acquisition of land.

For each project, the state government should also constitute bodies including the Expert Group to appraise Social Impact Assessment, the office of the Administrator Rehabilitation and Resettlement and Project Level Committees.

All these mechanisms should be put in place before December to implement the Act from 1 January.
At the central level too, a National Monitoring Committee should be constituted for reviewing and monitoring the implementation of rehabilitation and resettlement schemes or plans under the new Act.

Ramesh said he has agreed to set up a permanent Rules Advisory Committee at the central level comprising state government, industry associations and civil society organisations to review implementation of rules.

The new law stipulates mandatory consent of at least 70 per cent for acquiring land for public-private-partnership (PPP) projects and 80 per cent for acquiring land for private companies.
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