The disagreement between the ruling BJP and the opposition on the issue of Land Acquisition Bill has threatened to throw the parliament into a disarray. Anna Hazare and his suporters have already begun a huge protest on the issue, while several political parties too have expressed their intentions to join the movement. Here are 10 facts that will help you understand this multifaceted issue.
1. The Land Acquisition Act, passed in 1894, allows the government to acquire private land for large-scale development projects like building roads & industries.
2. The parliament in 2013 passed “The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act” to repeal the nineteenth century act.
3. This was to ensure that land was acquired for strictly public welfare projects and land owners were adequately compensated, which would include monetary relief as well as proper rehabilitation.
4. The BJP has now introduced amendments to this act, which have been opposed by all political parties, including their ally Shiv Sena in the Rajya Sabha.
5. The BJP’s argument has been that the UPA’s land acquisition law makes it impractical to acquire land for any public purpose and endlessly delays infrastructure projects.
6. While the amendments were passed in the Lok Shabha where BJP enjoys a vast majority, it has been unable to pass this in the Rajya Sabha. It issued an ordinance to pass the changes in December 2014.
7. The amended act does not require consent from 80 percent of the land owners, if the purpose is for national security, defence, rural infrastructure, industrial corridors and housing for the poor. Social Impact Assessment (SIA) is also not required for these projects.
8. This would mean that only the land owner would be compensated, since the SIA, used to track how many people depend on the land, is now being done away with.
9. The Congress, Left, Trinamool Congress, SP, BSP and JD-U have all opposed the government over provisions of the land ordinance calling it “anti-farmer” and aimed at “benefitting corporates”.
10. BJP has denied allegations that the amended act is anti-poor and anti-farmer. It claimed that the bill has included 13 so far excluded Acts under the Land Acquisition Act, and land acquired from these existing legislation will also require the same form of rehabilitation and compensation.
The ordinance to amend the Right to Fair Compensation & Transparency in Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 came into force on January 1 and has to be passed in parliament in the ongoing budget session to be become an Act. The Congress and other opposition parties accused the government of being “anti-farmer”and “pro-corporate” and vowed to take the battle across the country.