India has been agrarian economy since times immemorial and farmers have been considered to be the backbone of this country. Land is the primary factor in the agrarian economy and farmers have owned it for making the nation a self reliant in terms of agricultural productivity.
Land acquisition basically refers to taking away of any land by the government for any purpose. After the advent of British, land acquisition came into law known as Land Acquisition Act, 1894. The new colonial power required to expand its business by means of railways, telegraphs etc. In this, the government, by and large, was given powers to acquire any land in the name of 'public purpose'. There was no provision of taking any consent of the landowner and the people affecting from that land. Moreover, there was no provision of rehabilitation and compensation made in the act.
This act was replaced by Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act in 2013 by the ruling U.P.A. government. It empowered landowners to have a say in the process. It facilitated them with proper rehabilitation and compensation. Landowners have to be paid four times the cost of current market price by the government and private companies. In addition to this, an agreement of 80% of the stakeholders was necessary for starting any private project and 70% agreement for the government and PPP projects. Moreover, the land would automatically return to the landowners if the project doesn't begin in next 5 years from the starting time of the project. However, this act was viewed neither good for farmers nor for the industrialists.
After the general elections of 2014, the new N.D.A. government again passed an ordinance in December 2014 to make Land Acquisition Act (Amendment), 2013of U.P. A. a law with some amendments. It removed the consent clause for acquiring land under 5 categories, i.e.; Industrial corridors, PPP projects, rural infrastructure, affordable housing and defense. Also, whether the land is fertile or not, is not taken into consideration for these five specific areas. In addition to this, it also removed social impact assessment system, so the workers dependent on that farmland are denied of any compensation. However, the government didn't altered compensation and it brought 13 different central legislations under the act through which farmers can be benefitted.
With the various provisions removed, the farmers feels alienated and the government seem to be losing its ground .Our country is a developing economy and the new government is keen on increasing foreign investment to boost economy. Certainly, we require land for strengthening our economy and that has to be made available from the resources present, but that should not be done on the cost of farmers and snatching away their source of livelihood. Today, the conditions are such that the farmers have been at daggers drawn against the government and the government is viewed as "anti- farmer", while the corporate bodies found it difficult to acquire any land without any ongoing oppression.
It is high time that government should come out with some measures which can cater the needs and demands of both ends. Moreover, the mentality of viewing industry an anti that to that of agriculture or vice versa should be removed from people's mindset. The nation can only develop and progress if the two sectors are viewed as two wheels of a vehicle and work as the same for the journey of countrymen to the path of prosperous and equality based India.
Aditya Narayan Srivastav