Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Salient Features of Draft National Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) Bill

Here are the salient features of the National Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation (LARR) Bill 2011 prepared by Rakshita Swamy. It also highlights some of the problem areas. 

Salient Features: Draft National Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) Bill

1) Apart from those who lose their land, the Bill identifies those whose livelihoods are dependent on the land being acquired- as project affected persons who are entitled to R&R. Includes the following:
• Landless families (including agricultural labourers, artisans) who have been working on the affected area and whose primary source of livelihood stems from that area.
• Tribals and other forest dwellers who have lost traditional rights on the land
• Groups of forest gatherers, hunters, fisher folk, boatmen etc- whose primary source of livelihood will be affected due to acquisition

2) Combines land acquisition and resettlement and rehabilitation within the same Bill- “resettlement and rehabilitation must always in each instance, necessarily follow upon acquisition of land”.
3) When can the Government acquire land?
• When the Govt. acquires land for its own use
• When the Govt acquires land to transfer it for the use of private companies for stated public purpose- either immediately or after a stipulated period of time.
The public purpose for which the Govt acquires the land for transfer to the private company, once stated cannot be changed and,
• When a private company approaches the Govt for partial acquisition of an area, identified for public purpose, then the RR entitlements shall be applicable for the entire area affected, and not only to the area for which Govt’s intervention is sought for acquisition.
Land acquisition for the last two cases can only take place when 80% of the affected families have given their consent to the proposed acquisition

Problem areas:
When the Government acquires land for its own use, it does not need to obtain consent from any percentage of the affected population.
4) All entitlements that are stated in the Bill are described as the “absolute minimum”.
5) Definition of a family (under displaced families to whom compensation and R&R entitlements are provided to) also includes an adult of either gender, with or without spouse or children or dependents.

6) Definition of the term “public purpose” wherein the Government can acquire land for its own use if it fulfills a public purpose, or can acquire land to be transferred to a private company if its use satisfies a public purpose:
• Provision of land for strategic purposes relating to naval, military, air force, armed forces or any other purposes essential for national security
• Provision of land for infrastructure, industrialization and urbanization projects- where the benefits “largely accrue to the general public”
• Provision of land for village or urban sites and/or improvement of village sites
• Provision of land for residential purposes to the poor
• Provision of land for Govt administered educational and health schemes
• Provision of land for purposes useful to the general public to private companies, for which at least 80% of the project affected people have given their consent
Problem areas: 
The term “Infrastructure Project” includes land for mining activities and tourism. The Government can acquire land for its own use, if it is needed for “infrastructure projects” as defined above.
7) Social Impact Assessment (SIA) Study to be carried out in affected areas in consultation with the Gram Sabha. The study must assess:
• Nature of public purpose
• Estimation of loss of affected families
• Socio economic impact of those families left behind
• “Whether extent of land proposed for acquisition is the absolute bare minimum needed for the project”
• “whether less non-displacing alternatives” have been exhausted
8 ) Public Hearing mandatory for the Social Impact Assessment
The SIA must be subjected to an examination by an independent multi disciplinary expert group. This expert group must offer specific recommendations on definition of public purpose, whether land acquired is the absolute minimum and whether less displacing alternatives were exhausted.
Problem areas:
SIA mandatory only if land to be acquired is more than 100 acres.
SIA is exempted when land is acquired by the Govt by invoking the urgency clause.
9) Constitution of a committee, chaired by the Chief Secretary of the State, to:
• Examine the SIA report
• Ensure that the definition of “public purpose’ is legitimate, only the absolute minimum extent of land is acquired, that the Collector of the concerned District has ensured that all possibilities of utilizing waste, degraded, barren lands etc have been exhausted.
The Committee- after considering the report of the Collector and the recommendations of the Expert Group- shall recommend an area for acquisition.
Committee’s decision to be uploaded in the public domain and a dedicated website.
10) No irrigated multi crop land will be proposed for acquisition under any circumstances.
11) Appointment of an Administrator for Rehabilitation and Resettlement- responsible for issuing a notification for the land to be acquired.
• Notification must include summary of the findings of the SIA, details of the administrator of the R&R. Notification must be shared in the public domain.
• Consequent to the notification being issued, there needs to be a declaration made. Declaration must include summary of R&R package.
Declaration must be made within a stipulated period of time, after a notification is issued. Declaration must be shared in the public domain
In turn, the notification must be issued within 6 months of the appraisal of the SIA by the Expert Group.
• The Administrator is held responsible for the devising the R&R scheme.
12) Hearing of objections:
• Any person who has an objection to the terms under which the land is acquired, may object to the extent and choice of land proposed for acquisition or the findings of the SIA can complain in writing to the Collector.
• The Collector will give the complainant an opportunity to present his/her case. After hearing all such objections, the Collector can make further inquiries and submit a report (if he deems as necessary) on this recommendations on the objections made, to the Appropriate Government.
• The decision of the Appropriate Government on the objections shall be final.
• A public hearing should be organized on the R&R scheme prepared by the Administrator.
12) Market value of the land acquired
Market value of the land acquired, will be one of the below, whichever is higher in value:
• Minimum land value specified in the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 for the registration of sale deeds in the area where the land is situated or,
• Average of the sale price for similar type of land situated in the village, based on 50% of the sale deeds registered during the last 3 years.
Whichever is higher
The market value so calculated, multiplied by 3,  shall be included in compensation due in land acquired in rural areas.
13) Total compensation due for land acquired will include:
• Market value as ascertained above
• Value of the assets attached to the land such as buildings, trees, wells, crop etc as valued by the relevant Government authority.
•Solatium of 100%- on the market value
14) Minimum Compensation for Land:
• In urban areas, the award amount would not be less than twice that of the market value determined.
• In rural areas, the award amount would not be less than six times the original market value.
15) Minimum R&R Entitlements for Land Owners:- Schedule II of the Bill
Subsistence allowance of Rs 3000 p.m per family for 12 months
• Rs 2000 p.m per family as annuity for 20 years, appropriately indexed.
• Constructed house
• 1 acre of land to each family if land is acquired for an irrigation project
• When land is acquired for urbanization, 20% of the developed land will be reserved and offered to land owners in proportion to their land acquired.
Mandatory employment for 1 member per affected family
• 2 lakh rupees if employment is not offered
• Offer of shares of upto 25% of the compensation amount
16) Minimum R&R Entitlement for Livelihood Losers:
• Subsistence allowance of Rs 3000 p.m per family for 12 months
• Rs 2000 p.m per family as annuity for 20 years, appropriately indexed.
• Constructed house
• Mandatory employment for 1 member per affected family
• 2 lakh rupees if employment is not offered
• One time resettlement allowance of Rs 50,000
17) Special Comprehensive R&R Package for STs
18) R&R provisions are mandatory also in the case of private companies buying more than 100 acres of land or the private companies approach government for partial acquisition.
19) Compensation awards will be paid to individual families covered under the R&R Scheme as devised by the Administrator, to their individual bank accounts.
20) Where there are more than 100 families displaced, the Collector must ensure the provision of all infrastructural and basic amenities as listed in Schedule III of the Act, which includes, for example: roads, drainage facilities, drinking water, grazing land, Fair Price shops, panchayat ghars, post offices, burial/cremation grounds etc
21) Special powers in case of urgency:- urgency clause can be invoked only in the following cases
•National defense and security purposes
•Emergencies or natural calamities
•To be exercised in the “rarest of the rare cases”.
In the case of invoking the “urgency clause” the Collector, without making the award, takes possession of any land needed for a public purpose, on the expiration of 15 days from the publication of the notification.
22) Appointment of a Commissioner for Rehabilitation and Resettlement by the appropriate State Government- for supervising the formulation of RR schemes and its proper implementation.
23) When land to be acquired is greater than 100 acres, the appropriate Government shall constitute a R&R Committee to monitor and review the progress of the implementation of the RR scheme and carry out post implementation social audits on the same.
24) Constitution of a National Monitoring Committee for Rehabilitation and Resettlement to review the implementation of the RR schemes.
25) Constitution of Central/State Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Dispute Settlement Authority:
For the purposes of speedy disposal disputes relating land acquisition, payment of compensation, RR schemes etc.
Any person who has a complaint can write an application to the Collector, requiring that the matter be referred to the Dispute Settlement Authority. The Collector must refer it to the concerned Authority within a period of 15 days.
All proceedings of the Dispute Settlement Authority must take place in an open court.

26) Return of Land
Land will be returned to the original owner if it has not been used in 5 years, for the purpose for which it was acquired.
27) Penalty:
• Levy of fees upto 1 lakh rupees, for provision of false and misleading information/documents
• If R&R benefits have been obtained on the basis of false information, it will be recovered.
• If a Government servant is guilty of mala fide action in respect of any provision of this Act, she/he shall be liable to such punishment as the disciplinary authority may decide.
• When compensation is not paid before taking possession of the land, the Collector shall pay the amount awarded with interest at the rate of 9% p.a from the time of taking possession till it should have been paid.



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