Govt to move land acquisition
bill during winter session
Times, October 19, 2012
The government will
soon finalise the cut-off date for implementing the new land
acquisition legislation, which will be introduced in the winter
session of Parliament, rural development minister Jairam Ramesh
said on Thursday.
The minister said
although a group of ministers, headed by agriculture minister
Sharad Pawar, has modified the proposed bill and it no longer
requires the consent of livelihood losers, they would be
entitled to rehabilitation and compensation.
"I met Sharad Pawar
today (Thursday) and we want the bill to be before Parliament
during the winter session, which begins on November 21. That is
our cut-off date. It also needs to be cleared by the Cabinet
before that," Ramesh said in response to a query on when the
bill's cut-off date would be decided.
Pawar had earlier
said that all other contentious issues such as the percentage of
project-affected families whose consent is needed for land
acquisition, and linkage between possession of land and
implementation of relief package, have been resolved by the GoM.
that the GoM has brought down the percentage of project-affected
families to 66% from 80%.
He said while
livelihood losers, or people who worked on the acquired land,
would not have a say in the decision to sell, they would be
entitled to the relief package specified in the new law.
The minister also
said that possession of the acquired land would be allowed once
the compensation was paid and the rehabilitation process had
begun, adding that rehabilitation need not be completed for
possession of land.
however, said that the process should preferably be completed
within two years of land acquisition. The draft bill has also
done away with the retrospective clause to ensure that pending
land acquisition cases are not brought under the ambit of the
new law, deciding instead to fix a cut-off date for the new law
to take effect.
Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill was introduced
in Parliament in September last year to replace the 117-year-old
Land Acquisition Act. It was referred to a Parliamentary
Standing Committee headed by Sumitra Mahajan, which submitted
its recommendations in May this year. The revised bill seeks to
pay land owners in urban areas twice the market rate and the
ones in rural areas four times the market rate with areas
falling in between getting compensation based on a rolling scale
linked to the distance of the location from rural and urban
Flexi fund for rural
The government will
set up a rural development flexi fund of Rs 40,000 crore for
states as part of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17) to allow
states the freedom in funding the project.
The Centre will pay
70% of the amount while states will have to come up with the
rest. The amount will be disbursed over four years starting from
2013-14. The Planning Commission could extend a similar
dispensation to other ministries as well. The scheme would be
put up for Cabinet approval soon.
Wider coverage for
Pension scheme for
the old, widows and disabled run by the rural development
ministry, which is currently available only to below poverty
line population, may soon be extended to all except those who
are excluded through pre-determined criteria.
"I have spoken to
the PM and the FM and it will be taken to the Union Cabinet for
approval," the minister said. The pension schemes are Indira
Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme, Indira Gandhi National
Widow Pension Scheme and Indira Gandhi National Disabled Pension
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