The Union Cabinet has approved certain amendments in the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.
The Act came into effect from 1 January, 2014 but it has been reported that many difficulties are being faced in its implementation. In order to remove them, certain amendments have been made in the Act to further strengthen the provisions to protect the interests of the ‘affected families’. In addition, procedural difficulties in the acquisition of lands required for important national projects required to be mitigated.
The proposed amendments meet the twin objectives of farmer welfare; along with expeditiously meeting the strategic and developmental needs of the country. The existing Act vide Section 105 (read with Schedule IV) has kept 13 most frequently used Acts for Land Acquisition for the Central Government Projects out of the purview. These acts are applicable for national highways, metro rail, atomic energy projects, electricity related other projects etc. Thus a large percentage of famers and affected families were denied the compensation and R&R measures prescribed under the Act.
The present amendments bring all those exempted 13 Acts under the purview of this Act for the purpose of compensation as well as rehabilitation and resettlement. Therefore, the amendment benefits the farmers and the affected families.
The second important aspect of the amendment is to make developmental and security related works much faster without compromising on the benefits/compensation to be given to the farmers.
The present changes allow a fast track process for defence and defence production, rural infrastructure including electrification, housing for poor including affordable housing, industrial corridors and infrastructure projects including projects taken up under Public Private Partnership mode where ownership of the land continues to be vested with the government.
These projects are essential for bringing in better economic opportunities for the people living in these areas and would also help in improving quality of life.