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Land Acquisition Bill: Discuss the Pros and Cons.

The Land Acquisition Act was constituted in 1894, which allowed the government to acquire any private land without any major assent of the owners. This draconian law was ought to repealing by The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. Now the major controversy sparked in the beginning of 2015 as the government came up with Land Ordinance Bill with proposed amendments in the Act.

The accentuation of the proposed bill by the government created a huge blow to the interests of the farmers, which resulted a strong protest from the people and eminent crusader like Anna Hazare till the present day. The debates that have arised over this bill are not merely political or trivial but ambiguous with negative and positive inferences. While the present propounded ordinance being termed anti-farmer the erstwhile Land Acquisition Act, 2013 is termed both anti-farmer and anti-industry, which made gruelling effects on the farmers and the industries as well.

The comprehensive nature of the bill along with synchronization of pros and cons doesn't enable anyone to emphasize at any one point. The most important positive concern that if the bill is passed there is a very good chance of rapid industrialisation and modernization in backward regions where government aid hardly reaches. The bill also presents the compensation to the owners at the rate of four times the rural value or two times the urban value of their land holdings and also comes with a job in any project that takes place on that land.

The bill will implicitly lead to the upliftment of lives of the backward people through electrification, proper transportation, education and medical facilities. It will also be a matter of relief to the farmers who wants to leave agriculture, the infertile lands which otherwise was left unutilised will be wisely used. Arguments have even risen that there was no proper intact procedure in acquiring land in the previous act which is modified in this bill with a proper procedure.

The government has even equipoised the ordinance by including 13 Acts which were otherwise excluded from the previous bill. Those of Coal, Mines, National Highways, Electricity, Petroleum, Indian Tramways, Metro Railways, Resettlement of displaced people, Atomic Energy, Damodar Valley Corporation, Archaeological Sites, Requisition and Acquisition of Immovable Property which were not presented in the erstwhile bill. The bill also assists The Make in India initiative that the Prime Minister is propounding.

Whenever one hears about industrialisation, the first thing that comes in the mind is 'development' which is always welcomed by the minorities and the backward people. Then what's there that is abstaining the minorities basically the farmers from this development? The reason is the government doing away with the 'assent' which will not be required this time while acquiring land or may be required in some cases at very minimal conditions. The second most important reason is obliteration of the Social Impact Assessment (SIA) which is a very vital tool to figure out the impact of this land ordinance on people.

This propounded ordinance sheds light on a few important aspects which makes one estimate the negativity of this bill. The question that arises in the cons section is that, what will happen to the labourers, farmers and other related people who doesn't own any land but are indirectly depended on it for a daily living? And without the SIA being sanctioned into this bill how the government will estimate the actual loss of the people, who will lose the momentum of their living. Who is going to compensate them with proper necessities when the ordinance only ensures the land owners to be compensated.

There will also be huge agrarian loss as a very fertile land may get wasted as the government will not take into consideration the fertility of it while acquiring. The Land Acquisition Bill has to maintain the duality of the centre and the state to synchronize the development process through it, which the government fails to emphasize. The adivasis and the tribal people will be more targeted through this bill as already 50-60 million of them being displaced after independence and less than 1/3 being resettled properly. The triviality that this bill endorses is that universities and other institutions (public and private) possesses huge acres of lands but the government fails to target those lands for development, elaborating the casualties while formulating the ordinance and which should be refined.

The Land Acquisition Bill is very necessary for everyone's benefit. But there are responsibilities of the government to look after the displaced people. And also to keep the land mafia's at bay for the proper implementation of it. It should be having a clear timeline about compensation and rehabilitation and should not overlook any section of the society.

Tanumoy Mondal

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