Cabinet approves amendments on Land Acquisition Act

New Delhi, Dec 29, 2014.PTI

Government today recommended promulgation of an ordinance making significant changes in the Land Acquisition Act including removal of consent clause for acquiring land for five areas of industrial corridors, PPP projects, rural infrastructure, affordable housing and defence.

The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, decided to amend the Act to bring under its purview 13 central legislations, including those relating to defence and national security, to provide higher compensation and rehabilitation and resettlement benefits to farmers whose land is being acquired.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government decided to relax certain provisions of the Act and add Section 10 A to the legislation keeping in the mind development needs of the society.

He said the mandatory “consent” clause and Social Impact Assessment (SIA) will not be applicable if the land is acquired for five purposes including national security, defence, rural infrastructure including electrification, industrial corridors and building social infrastructure including PPP where ownership of land continues to be vested with the government.

However, the compensation and rehabilitation and resettlement packages will be applicable as per the new Land Acquisition Act for acquiring land for these purposes.
As per the changes brought in the ordinance, multi-crop irrigated land can also be acquired for these purposes.

“Such projects are vital to national security and defence of India including preparation for defence and defence production,” Jaitley said justifying the government’s decision to bring changes in the Act enacted during previous UPA rule.

Asked about the consent clause, Jaitley said “if the land acquisition is for the five purposes, then the consent clause will be exempted”. The earlier Act provided for consent of 70 per cent of land owners whose land is acquired for PPP projects.

Jaitley said there is a mandatory condition for provision of job for those whose land is acquired for industrial corridors.

With this decision, R & R (rehabilitation and resettlement) and compensation provisions of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 will be applicable for 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.

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