In last ten months, Modi Government have shown strong indications to bring much needed positive change in the society. Now, the latest in this series is Land Acquisition Bill 2015.
Shri Kalraj Mishra, Union Cabinet Minister, Ministry of MSME, Government of India explains the new Land Acquisition Bill to Faiz Askari of SMEStreet. In the interaction, he emphasized the relevance of this bill for the farmers and Indian agriculture economy.
The edited excerpts:
The current Government has made some bold steps towards bringing much needed reforms for the country. The latest in this series is Land Acquisition Bill 2015. Please share the background of this bill and Government’s commitment towards the poor?
Land Acquisition Bill 2015 is a result of long struggle by the farmers and other organization, though earlier act was known as a law which was against the farmers and forcefully evicted them from their land. It fact the present bill is a result of a long struggle of 125 years. Though few people and organizations are acknowledging it against the interest of the farmers which is not true. It is essential to know the developments in Land Acquisition act since it was adopted in 1894.
It 1894 the British India Govt. passed a legislation which empowered the Government to occupy natural resources and land of the country. As a consequently Govt. was empowered to acquire land in the name of public interest and this practice continued even after the independence. Initially there was no rule about the amount paid to the farmers as compensation of acquired land. Later on provision was enacted for compensation but there was no clear cut provision for the amount which is to be paid to the farmers. That’s why at the time of acquisition of land for Bhakhra Nagal, Tehri & Other Projects, the land owners moved to the court and different courts has given different verdicts in different cases of acquisition of land.
There was no provision for obtaining the consent of farmers initially. Because acquisition was being done on the pretext of matter of public interest but the term public interest was not defined properly. As such the projects relating to Hospitals, Roads, Schools, Dam, Canals and other methods of irrigation were treated as public interest but projects relating to industrial corridors and industrial developments were treated differently. The situation changed after beginning of the era economic reforms and globalization I e declaration of 10,000 Acres of land as cantonment area for Army was treated a project in pulic interest, the same away acquisition of 6300 acres of land for Delhi Airport to ensure the development of infrastructure required development of country shall also be treated as a matter of public interest which was not done earlier.
Can you also run us through the situation regarding this Bill in the previous government?
Prior to 2013 Land Acquisition Act was quite controversial as the land of farmers where acquired forcefully and large number of farmers were displaced but no action was initiated to rehabilitate them, after independence nearly 6 crores peoples have been displaced from their houses and agriculture land but they were paid very meagre amount as compensation. In colonial era the Britishers exploited the farmers by displacing them from their land, simply to exploit land and mineral resources of the country. After independence in Pt. Nehru era the Public Sector was treated as lonely way for the development but in this model of development the farmers were least benefitted.
After the beginning of era of economic reforms, the private sector became equally important and during this period, the land Acquisition Act 1894 was frequently used and a large area of land was acquired for establishing special economic zone. Keeping in view the problem of displaced of farmers, a new legislation draft was prepared in 1999 by nda govt led by shri Atal Bihari bajpayee Ji where in suggestions from different Organizations were included and welfare of all the sections of society were kept in mind but few cabinet colleagues apposed it on the point of consent of the farmers. They were of the view that the development projects cannot be implemented because of non-receipt of consent of the farmers. Therefore the draft legislation of 1999 was draft
The land acquisition Act of 2013 was prepared after long discussion and considerations. In this Act the consent of 80% in case of private projects and consent of 70% owners in case of Govt. Projects of the land owners was made mandatory and handsome amount of compensation was assured to the farmers and. BJP gave full support to the land Acquisition Act 2013 as main opposition Party.
Now the question arises that why the Act of 2013 was modified. The congress Government during its rule from 1947 to 2012 used Land Acquisition Act as suppressing method to exploit the farmers & poors but to show itself farmers friendly and sympathetic to poors it complicated the act and it the acquisition of land became impossible under the provision of Act 2013. During UPA regime Commerce Minister Shri Anand Sharma wrote on 22.5.2012 to Prime Minister and stated that in the present set up of land bill there will be adverse effect in construction, industrialization and Urbanization. The cost of land will become out of reach and acquisition would be impossible. Further 32 Chief Ministers including few from congress ruled states asked for some change in Act of 2013. Then why so much opposition of land Acquisition Bill 2015. In fact there is lot of lies behind this opposition.
Now, what will be Government’s strategy in the present economic scenario specially from the perspective of farmers?
It is not possible for the government to roll back on issue of development. NDA Govt. has included in New Act about 13 exempted Act passed by UPA Govt. Because of these exempted Acts Govt. was empowered to acquire land without giving any compensation. Now Govt. led by Shri Narendra Modi has brought these acts into ambit of new act. Consequently poor farmers will get compensation for their acquire lands. To honour the sentiments of Hon’ble Members Govt. has included nine amendments in the bill. These are
- One person of the affected family will be provided Govt. Job.
- One Km area on the both sides of Road and Railways tract will be acquired for industrial corridor and that too will be developed by Govt. Agency.
- For development of social infrastructure land will not be acquired.
- Land will not be acquired for private schools and private Hospitals.
- Land acquisition will be done only for Govt. Institutes and Corporations.
- Compensation amount will be deposited is a single account of beneficially
- Officials violating the laws will be prosecuted in the court of law.
- Farmers will have the rights to file the complaints if any in there district.
- Banjar land only will be acquired.
Whatever changes in the Act of 2013 has been brought out by Modi Government it has been done in view of the feelings of most of the chief ministers and with a view to bring development in the country and making available necessary infrastructure. In fact it is a positive step for development. Thus will help in bringing skill development and in opening of development centers for youths who are of 25 years of age.
Going forward, what will be Modi-Government’s future roadmap?
Government’s vision of 2022 contains construction of House for all, toilets, Schools and technical centers. By the Act of 2015 the Govt. will be in a position to make available land for vision 2022. This bill is a result of development vision of Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi which has made Gujrat a developed state because of good governance he has given as a chief minister of Gujrat. Many industrial groups and Multinational Companies are taking interest in his Make in India Call we need to make available necessary infrastructure and a favorable and conducive atmosphere to materialize dream of developed India. Simultaneously it will create jobs for youths and relief for poor and farmers dalits and adivasies who are in dire need at atmosphere which can ensure their development and bring them in the main stream of the society.