This is a working paper by Kanchi Kohli and Debayan Gupta, Centre for Policy Research,Namati Environmental Justice Program, which throws light on Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (RFCTLARR) Act, 2013. It is indiacted that there has been at the centre of intense debate. Controversial changes were introduced to this law by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, soon after it came to power in 2014. These changes were discussed in Parliament, analysed in the media and challenged at protests. While the fate of the amendments rests currently with the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) report, several states have already brought about changes through Rules under Section 109 of the Act or have enacted their own state level land acquisition legislations.
An examination of these efforts by state governments reveals the following trends:
- At least six state governments have enacted their own land acquisition laws by seeking Presidential consent .
- New state laws directly adopt the amendments proposed by the 2014 land ordinance and exclude acquisitions for certain purposes from the purview of the central law.
- States are also adopting the clauses of the NDA government’s 2014 land ordinance through the drafting of state rules, thereby attempting to ‘amend’ the central law.
- State level rules are diluting the applicability of the progressive clauses like prior consent, public hearings or Social Impact Assessment (SIA).
- States are repatriating unused acquired land into land banks rather than returning it to the original owners as required by the central law.
- State Rules are reducing the amount of compensations to be paid against acquisitions.
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