ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Subverting the Land Acquisition Act, 2013

After coming to power in 2014, the National Democratic Alliance government took several measures to dilute the pro-poor provisions of the Land Acquisition Act of 2013. Though it has backed down, several questions remain over the way the Modi government has dealt with the issue of land acquisition.

Land acquisition—by private corporations or the state—has raised vital questions for India, where half of the workforce is involved in agricultural work for livelihood. There have been bitter debates in academia, and protests from agricultural communities on the question of land. As the processes leading to the dispossession of farmers’ lands gathered momentum, protests intensified in different parts of the country. They forced the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the centre to enact the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) Act, 2013. Though, this act, passed by the Parliament, was termed pro-people, certain issues remained unresolved. For example, the fear of arbitrary valuation of the market price of land acquired was not addressed.

However, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has virtually nullified this act. It passed a LARR Ordinance on 29 December 2014. Several amendments diluting the criterion for land acquisitions were included in the ordinance, on grounds that the LARR Act, 2013 was complicated and anti-development (Jaitley 2015).

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