Need of Compliance to Legal and Social Frameworks for Land Based Investments in India

Vilas D. Sonawane, Ashish V. Sonawane

We are presenting this paper at World Bank’s Land and Poverty Conference, 2018 under the event’s theme of “Achieving responsible large-scale land based investments: lessons learned 10 years on.” India has seen number of changes in last 10 years with reference to its land acquisition policies. Changes in the policy framework can be divided into two sections before and after passing of new Land Acquisition, (RFCTLARR) Act in 2013. Prior to the passage of RCFTLARR, Act in 2013 Land acquisition policies in India were primarily governed by the old Land Acquisition Act of 1894, which had several lacunas especially in the provisions related to compensation and rehabilitation proceedings for the land owner. These lacunas resulted into large number of land disputes, farmer protests and created unstable environment for all the stakeholders - land owners, government agencies facilitating & building public utilities and industries investing in India. New RFCTLARR Act of 2013 is an attempt to remove the deficiencies in the old legislation and promote several confidence building measure for the farming community. However, the stringent conditions for the land acquisition proceedings received negative response from the industry and infrastructure building agencies. Hence, just after passing of 2013 act, attempts to amend it were made, central government promulgated ordinance to dilute some of the provisions of 2013 act, however the Government could not pass Amendment bill in the parliament and the ordinance finally lapsed. When the ordinance route failed, several state governments passed legislations or government order to change the policy framework. State governments could pass on the amendments, as “Land” is part of the concurrent list on Indian constitution and both state and center can legislate on the topic. The aim and objects behind passing of these amendments is to increase pace of development by way of improving basic infrastructure facilities, boosting domestic businesses and bringing global manufacturers in India. All these actions are intended to uplift lives of more than 1 billion Indians and boost Indian economy. State Governments are coming up with new and innovative ways quicker and better management of land acquisition processes. However, the experience of earlier mis-managed land acquisition activities in the minds of farming community and flawed bureaucratic execution of policies are still causing issues in land acquisition proceedings. Our work is based on following points: 1. Our own experiences of pleading several land acquisition cases in the courts of Law. 2. Qualitative & quantitative analysis of legal disputes over land conflicts litigated before Supreme Court of India between 1950 and 2016. Supreme court cases are representative of the country as it hears the cases from across the country. 3. Comprehensive analysis of the provisions of the RFCTLARR, 2013, followed by comparative study of amendments related to the dilutions in the said act. 4. Findings of detailed ground level surveys on land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement proceedings undertaken for large-scale land-based projects across the Indian states.

Event: Land Governance in an Interconnected World_Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty_2018

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Document type:Need of Compliance to Legal and Social Frameworks for Land Based Investments in India (1258 kB - pdf)