Changes in land laws ensure higher compensation: FM

Changes in land laws ensure higher compensation: FM

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday defended the government’s recent decision to amend the land acquisition law, arguing that the amendments effected by the ordinance would meet “developmental needs of India, particularly rural India, while still providing enhanced compensation” to the owners of the acquired land.

As the ordinance promulgated on December 31 last to amend the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, drew flak from the Opposition, Jaitley rather challenged the opposition political parties criticising the amendment to not to implement it in the states ruled by them.

“Will the state governments ruled by political parties, which are opposed to this ordinance, publicly declare that they will not use the law which provides for enhanced compensation in the case of exempted acts and acquisition process which balances the developmental needs of society, particularly those of poor, weaker sections, rural India along with defence requirements of the country?” Jaitley wrote in an article posted on Facebook on Sunday.

He cited the amendment to bring all the 13 exempted Acts frequently used for acquiring land under the purview of 2013 Act for the purpose of compensation as well as rehabilitation and resettlement. The ordinance provides that the farmers would get higher compensation if land is acquired under any of the laws previously exempted from the purview of the 2013 Act, he noted.

The Act passed by Parliament in 2013 had stipulated that the government could acquire land for a private company only if 80 per cent of people to be displaced or affected otherwise by the project gave their consent.

“Historically,” wrote Finance Minister, the power to acquire the land is a sovereign power. “A larger public interest always prevails over private interest. However, the land owner who loses the land has to be more than adequately compensated. A highly complicated process of acquisition which renders it difficult or almost impossible to acquire land can hurt India’s development,” he wrote.

He wrote that the amendment ordinance was based on extensive consultations where state government of most political parties supported changes in the 2013 Act.

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