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Proposed amendments in Land Acquisition Act: Pro-farmers, pro-poor, pro-rural and pro-national interest
In my last article 'Why the opposition to amendments in Land Acquisition act 2013 is anti-farmer and anti-national' published here, I had expected that the readers would get sufficient information on the necessity of amendments. That's why I just restricted my observation on the flip side of the consent and Social Impact Assessment (SIA).

Many personally complained that they are not sure whether the amendments are really pro-farmer and pro-national. They admitted that they have a perceptional problem at the wake of stiff oppositions for this amendment. This article aims to clear the perception created by opposition members creating a smoke screen.

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In 2013 LARR Act, thirteen central laws including National Highway Act 1956, The Railways Act 1989, Coal bearing Areas Acquisition and Development Act 1957 were put in Section 105 and exempted from the LARR Act 2013. For acquisition under those laws there is no need of consent or SIA. Also the R and R proposed in the LARR act 2013 is applicable in case of land acquisition as per those thirteen laws.

The applicability of LARR 2013 to these laws depended upon parliament's approval. A notification required to be given to parliament which will remain for 30 days with in which parliament will approve or disapprove whether the R and R would be applicable to the proposed acquisition under the laws in section 105.

The amendments through ordinance simply allowed that the R and R package of Land Act 2013 is applicable even to the land acquired under the laws placed in Section 105 and no parliament approval is required. Thus it's actually pro-farmer because they can avail the four time compensation. UPA didn't put consent and SIA clause there so also NDA.

Apart from that Modi government put another five proposals in addition to those 13 laws for exemption of consent and SIA. What are those five proposals and whether those are anti-farmer?

1) Land Acquisition for the purpose of defence and security of India. This is very important purpose which UPA ignored in their 2013 act. For strategic defence installation should there be a consent purpose? If yes, then isn't the enemy countries getting intimated of our defence strategy? Isn't it anti-national? Can nation's security be compromised? The sources say that many strategic defence installations were held up for this reason only. Defence can't disclose what their project is and thus can't install the projects. Thus the amendment is for national interest.

2) Land Acquisition for rural infrastructure that includes irrigation, electrification, road etc. Is it anti farmer? Irrigation would enhance farmer's production. Electrification and road connectivity will improve quality living of rural India. Construction of schools and hospitals in rural area is key to development of rural India.If Modi government stressed on speedy development of rural India, how come it became anti-farmer?

3) Land acquisition for affordable housing and housing for poor. Isn't it for development of poor people? Modi has a vision that by 2022, everyone would have their own house. The rural infrastructure as well as these housing schemes will provide employment to rural public as well as poor people. This will stop migration of rural people to urban or semi urban centres. How this is anti-public? Farmers mostly belong to rural area. How it's anti-farmer?

4) Land Acquisition for Industrial corridors which runs for a narrow distance along with various highways. Such corridors running close to agricultural land would substantially improve opportunities for farmers. This will generate employment, transportation of crops and value addition to the agricultural lands. How can this be anti-farmer?

5) Land acquisition for infrastructure and social infrastructure projects including those under PPP mode, where ownership of the land vests with governments. When the ownership is of Government how this can be pro-corporate? Investors only will be investing its money and authorized for their profit share. They are not owners. Like the NH projects are done under PPP mode, the rural projects will be done via PPP mode! This will help the entire country especially the rural areas where infrastructures are not adequate.

Rural India comprises of 70 per cent India. Modi government brought the amendments to make rural India a developed. It also cares for national security as well as farmer's interest. The opposition just labels it as anti-farmer without any logical point. There are other provisions for amendment which I will discuss in next article. From the above can anyone say opposition is right? Should the amendment be withdrawn?

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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