Monday, December 29, 2014

Cabinet approves ordinance for Land Acquisition Act
[Editor: This is one of the best decisions taken by the NDA Government and should get appreciation from all. The government should prioritize solving, the key issues, which is affecting the infrastructure space. I was surprised when the Prime Minister of India, instead of speaking of bringing in "Sweeping" changes (reforms) in the infrastructure space, was actually asking all to "Sweep" Indian roads (infrastructure?)---Huh!! 
Anyway, after a hiatus of about 120 years, the earlier UPA Government brought in a new Act in Real Estate sector: “The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013” (LARR). This Act has a lot of changes, improvements & additions over the Land Acquisition Act of 1894. And as the name suggests, LARR primarily caters to the issues of rehabilitation & resettlement on top of land acquisition norms]
Dec 29, 2014: New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Monday approved a proposal to take the ordinance route to amend the Land Acquisition Act to kickstart hundreds of billions of dollars in stalled projects.

After Cabinet meeting, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the five areas were clearance for land for defence purposes, rural infrastructure, affordable housing and housing projects for poor, industrial corridors, and infrastructure or social infrastructure projects, including those in public-private projects in which ownership of land will remain with the government.

Restrictions on buying land are among barriers holding up projects worth almost USD 300 billion in sectors such as rail, steel, mining and roads.

The decision to adopt ordinance route, have been taken after government failed to amend as many as 13 central pieces of legislation to bring their R & R (rehabilitation and resettlement) and compensation provisions on par with those of the new Land Acquisition Act on buying land across the country. 

The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, which came into force on January 1, 2014, had specifically said that the 13 existing central pieces of legislation including the Coal Bearing Areas Acquisition and Development Act, 1957, the National Highways Act, 1956, and the Land Acquisition (Mines) Act, 1885 have to be amended within a year to bring them on par with provisions of the new legislation.

However, the concerned Ministries including Railways, Power and Home did not work to amend the law as mandated by Section 105 (3) of the new law.

The other laws which were to be amended including the Atomic Energy Act, 1962; the Indian Tramways Act, 1886; the Railways Act, 1989; the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958; the Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Act, 1962 and the Damodar Valley Corporation Act, 1948.

The Electricity Act, 2003; Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act, 1952; the Resettlement of Displaced Persons (Land Acquisition) Act, 1948 and the Metro Railways (Construction of Works) Act, 1978 were also to be amended as mandated by the new Land Acquisition Act.

The Centre had earlier failed to pass the amendments in the winter session.

Several states have earlier asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s government to overhaul the law, which company executives have blamed for stalling land deals and stifling industrial expansion.

They want the government to remove a requirement to get landholders` consent in the case of public-private partnership projects, or at least bring the approval threshold down to 50 percent of affected landowners from 80 percent.

An ordinance is an urgent measure that has to be passed by the next parliamentary session. Modi has already resorted to using it three times in his six months in the office due to a lack of majority in the upper house of parliament.

Courtesy: Zee News
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