Parliament passes land bill

Parliament passes land bill

The Parliament on Wednesday passed the long-awaited legislation on land acquisition that seeks to change the antiquated legal framework for acquiring land and guarantee better compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement benefits to people affected by acquisitions.

The bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha with four official amendments, which was suggested by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan (BJP) and accepted by the Congress.

The amendments, said union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh, were intended to ensure there was no negative effect of the new legislation on irrigation projects.

The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on August 29, three days after the lower House gave its nod to the National Food Security Bill. 

The ruling coalition hopes the two bills will salvage its prospect in the 2014 Parliamentary election.

With the bill passed by Houses, it will now be sent for Presidential ascent after which it will become a law.

Summing up the debate in the Rajya Sabha, Ramesh said the legislation was not linked to 2014 election as it was in the works for seven years. Rather it is a necessary legislation as the basic structure of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 is wrong.  “We have tried to maintain a balance between urbanisation and industrialisation on one hand and farmer's rights and welfare,” he said.

The legislation which will replace the 1894 act, proposes payment of compensation up to four times the market value of the land being acquired in rural areas and two times the market value in urban areas. Even the people whose livelihood was dependent on the land would also be compensated.

The new law makes it mandatory to obtain prior consents of at least 70 per cent of land owners in case of acquisitions for public-private-partnership projects and of 80 per cent in case of private projects.

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