What is a balanced view on the proposed changes to the Land Acquisition Act of 2013? Are critics and protestors right that these amendments are anti-farmers? Or are farmers being misled?
One factor in favour of the land ordinance (which was re-promulgated early this month) is the inclusion of 13 Acts excluded in the December 2013 draft, including some significant ones such as Coal Bearing Areas Act of 1957 and the Atomic Energy Act of 1962. Their exclusion could have made the bill applicable in a relatively small number of cases.
The main question revolves around the five categories of projects being exempted in the new Bill from 70% consent of communities, and from requirement of a Social Impact Assessment, 'in the public interest': projects vital to national security; rural infrastructure including electrification; affordable housing and housing for the poor; industrial corridors; and infrastructure projects including ones under PPP where the ownership of land continues to vest with the government.
How many projects will become exempt by these clauses? Some of these key terms could be interpreted very broadly: evoking national security could involve land taken for expanding police outposts, and firing ranges; rural infrastructure/electrification could involve coal mines, affordable housing could easily be expanded to mean housing for the middle class, following the trend in cities of 'investments' in second (more affordable) homes in the distant suburbs; and infrastructure projects can include highways and expressways that may well run through farm land.
For new constructions, developers have to seek clearance from the local authorities. When the building is ready, the local authority awards a completion certificate stating that the approved plan has been followed. This is mandatory for getting basic amenities such as water and power.Read More...
Infrastructure projects are the ones that will receive the sharpest blow. In many instances, this rise in input costs is likely to yield the projects unviable. As it is, the infrastructure projects are under pressure, especially those in the rural areas as it is difficult to monetize them; so the private sector is not interested in them.Read More...