Introduction & Salient Features of Land Acquisition Act, 2013


The objectives of the Act are set out in Preamble of the Act, which is: - 

  • to ensure, in consultation with institutions of local self-government and Gram Sabhas established under the Constitution, a humane, participative, informed and transparent process for land acquisition for industrialization, development of essential infrastructural facilities and urbanisation with the least disturbance to the owners of the land and other affected families 
  • to provide just and fair compensation to the affected families whose land has been acquired or proposed to be acquired or are affected by such acquisition 
  • to make adequate provisions for such affected persons for their rehabilitation and resettlement 
  • to ensure that the cumulative outcome of compulsory acquisition should be that affected persons become partners in development leading to an improvement in their post-acquisition social and economic status and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. 

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Purpose and Scope for the Act 

The Act aims to establish the law on land acquisition, as well as the rehabilitation and resettlement of those directly affected by the land acquisition in India. The scope of the Act includes all land acquisition whether it is done by the Central Government of India, or any State Government of India, except the state of Jammu & Kashmir. 

i. States are free to enact their own legislations and policies on land acquisition, provided provisions on resettlement and rehabilitation shall not be less than what is provided in the Central Act (Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013). 

ii. Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 would apply when: 

1. Government acquires land for its own use, hold and control. 

2. Government acquires land with the ultimate purpose to transfer it for the use of private companies for States public purpose. The public purpose of Act includes public private partnership project, but excludes land acquired for stated national highways projects. 

3. Government acquires land for immediate and declared use by private companies for public purpose. 

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Salient Features of the LARR Act, 2013/ Importance 

This law is being enacted under the Concurrent list and the states can bring their own law on the subject without derogating from the central law. 

The Wakf land will not be acquired under this law. The bill proposes benefits such as land for land, housing, employment and annuities that shall accrue in addition to the one-time cash payments for whose land is acquired. 

No land can be acquired in Scheduled Areas without the consent of the Gram Sabhas and no one shall be dispossessed until and unless all payments are made and alternative sites for the resettlement and rehabilitation hue been prepared. 

The bill proposed to provide compensation to those who are dependent on the land being acquired, for their livelihood. 

To safeguard food security and to prevent arbitrary acquisition, the bill directs states to impose limits on the area under agricultural cultivation that can be acquired. 

In case land remains unutilised after acquisition, the new bill empowers states to return the land either to the owner or to the State Land Bank. 

The land can be acquired for private projects, Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) and for government projects, provided it is for a public purpose. The land can be acquired only for public purposes such as : Strategic use by the armed forces, paramilitary, state police; for national security; for infrastructure projects, including activities listed under the department of economic affairs (infrastructure section), excluding private hospitals, private education institutions and private hotels; projects related to industrial corridors, mining, national investment and manufacturing zone, sports, healthcare, tourism and space programmes; housing projects for income groups specified by government, projects planned for development of village sites, residential areas for lower income groups in urban areas; projects involving agro-processing, warehousing, cold storage, marketing infrastructure, dairy, fisheries and meat processing cooperatives. 

The new law clearly stipulates the pre-condition for acquisition of the land, which are: (1) For a private entity or a PPP project, state has to conduct a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) and an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), to identify the families who would be affected if land was acquired. (II) The private entity seeking land must then get the consent of 80 per cent of the affected families before it gets the government to acquire land for it. In the case of PPPs, the entity has to secure consent of 70 per cent of affected families. (III) The third condition for getting possession of land acquired through state intervention is payment of compensation and fulfilling of Rehabilitation and Resettlement requirements. 

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Compensation package under the Bill is as: Up to four times the market value in rural areas and twice the market value in urban areas; the Bill provides compensation to those dependent on the land for livelihood; where acquired land is sold to a third party for a higher price, 40 per cent of the appreciated land value (or profit) will be shared with the original owners. This would be exempt from tax and stamp duty. 

Rehabilitation and Resettlement package under the Bill is inbuilt and mandatory on the part of the government: The definition of affected family includes farm labourers, tenants, sharecroppers and workers in the area for three years prior to acquisition. The compensation would be Rs. 5lakh or a job, if available, to the affected family, subsistence allowance of Rs. 3,000 a month for one year; miscellaneous allowances of up to Rs. 1.25 lakh for each family. 

A Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authority to be established. 

Retrospective clause will be applicable in cases where no land acquisition award made. In cases where land was acquired five years ago but no compensation has been paid or no possession happened, the acquisition process to start again. 

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The Bill allows industry to take land on lease, instead of buying. But the decision rests with the state rather than the land owner. 

Irrigated farmland out of acquisition ambit for non-farm uses. But state can decide to what extent farmland should be protected. The farmer does not have any say in the matter. 

However, the new law is silent over certain crucial matters such as: 

No guarantee of jobs in Rehabilitation and Resettlement package; compensation calculated according to circle rates much less than market prices; no protection to farmland; state government to decide if unused acquired-land should be returned to the farmer or added to its land bank. This applies even if owners return the compensation.

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