[Polity] Land Ordinance 2014 vs. Land Acquisition Act 2013: Salient Features, Comparison & Criticism

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  1. LARR Act 2013
  2. Salient features of LARR-2013 Act?
  3. Why Land ordinance?
  4. Land Ordinance 2014: Salient Features
  5. Land ordinance: Critcism/Anti-arguments
  6. Appendix-I: Examples of Public Purpose acquisition
  7. Appendix-II: 13 central laws exempted
  8. Mock Questions

LARR Act 2013

  1. Land Acquisition, Rehab, Resettlement Act (LARR) 2013
  2. Department of Land resources under Rural Development ministry, implements this act.

But why was this law enacted?

  1. Land Acquisition means government/private company purchasing private land for “public purpose“.
  2. But, under the British-era Land acquisition act of 1894, the term “public purpose” was ambiguous and open to executive-discretion. So, poor peoples’ land was acquired at throwaway prices in pretext of development projects.
  3. Sometimes such projects never started, and the same cheap land was resold at higher price to real estate developers, without building anything for “public purpose”.
  4. With this tactic politicians, their sons-in-law and bureaucrats made billions out of thin air. LARR act-2013 tried to fix this problem.
Land Acquisition, Rehab, Resettlement Act (LARR) 2013

Land Acquisition, Rehab, Resettlement Act (LARR) 2013

Salient features of LARR-2013 Act?
Colonial Act 1894LARR Act 2013
The term “public purpose” was ambiguous and open to Government’s discretionClearly defines various types of “public purpose” projects for which, Government can acquire private land. (Refer to appendix-1)
Land could be acquired forcibly.
  • For private project, 80% affected families must agree.
  • For PPP project, 70% affected families must agree.
  • Only then land can be acquired.
They were given no voice in decision making.Under Social impact assessment (SIA) even need to obtain consent of the affected artisans, laborers, share-croppers, tenant farmers, fishermen, small traders, Desi-liquor den owners etc. whose (sustainable) livelihood will be affected because of the given project.
Government was free to decide how much money to pay while acquiring private land.
  • Compensation proportion to market rates.
  • 4 times the market rate in rural area.
  • 2 times in urban area.
  • Affected artisans, small traders, fishermen etc. will be given one-time payment, even if they don’t own any land.
No such restrictions on fertile landTo ensure food security:

  1. Fertile, irrigated, multi-cropped farmland can be acquired only in last resort.
  2. If such fertile land is acquired, then Government will have to develop equal size of wasteland for agriculture purpose.
  • if Government acquires the lands for private company- the said private company will be responsible for relief and rehabilitation of the affected people.
  • Additional rehab.package for SC/ST owners. Example- fishing rights over dam, 25% extra money if settled outside their native district and so on.
No such safeguardsState Governments have to setup dispute settlement authorities. Chairman must be a district judge or lawyer for 7 years.
No such accountabilityHead of the department will be made responsible, for any offense or mischief played from Government’s side. (although this made the officers very cautious given the media-trials. They’d sit on the files instead of taking any action).
If project did not start, then acquired land was secretly sold/leased to private players at sky-high prices.If project doesn’t start in 5 years, land has to be returned to the original owner.

Why Land ordinance?

  • 1894’s land act was bogus and exploitive. So Congress government enacted new law in 2013, with provisions for social impact assessment, fair compensation, dispute settlement and other fancy things.
  • LARR-2013 Act became effective from 1st January 2014.
  • But, this LARR Act-2013 established an extremely complex and impractical land acquisition process.
  • Holdouts: Jholachhap NGOs would instigate 20-25% of the affected families to stage holdout- promising them it’ll fetch them even higher prices. and Given the 70-80% consent requirement, the project will never kickoff.
  • Litigation: because local (and therefore corruption) Patwari and Tehsildars never maintain proper land records of who owns how much land.
  • This raised the land prices, red tapism and thus the overall project cost.
  • Neither the farmer could sell its land and move to urban areas, no the entrepreneur could buy the land and move towards rural areas.
  • Combined with Environment-activism and policy paralysis of UPA regime, the end result was infrastructure bottleneck, high inflation and fall in GDP.
Why Land Ordinance 2014

Why Modi had to bring Land Ordinance 2014?

  • As such those stringent LARR provisions did not apply to 13 central laws e.g. if land was acquired under Railways Act or Atomic Energy Act, then Social-impact assessment, market-rate compensation etc. were not applicable.
  • But this “Exemption” was given only for a year i.e. upto 1st January 2015. By the time, Government needed to amend those 13 acts so that LARR-like high compensation rates can be given to farmers in those projects also. But it was no possible to amend 13 central laws  because:
  1. Frequent Disruptions in Winter session (December 2014)
  2. Modi doesn’t enjoy majority in Rajya Sabha.
  3. some of the union ministries hadnot even prepared the bills.

Therefore, Government decided to use ordinance route under Article 123 of the Constitution.

Land ordinance 2014

Land Ordinance 2014: Salient Features
LARR-Act 2013Land Ordinance 2014
  • Mandatory 70% consent for PPP projects.
  • Mandatory 80% consent for private projects.
  • Mandatory Social impact assessment (SIA) for every projects.
Those “mandatory” things are no longer required for 5 types of projects:

  1. National security and Defense Production
  2. Rural infrastructure, Rural electrification
  3. Infrastructure and Social infrastructure
  4. Industrial corridors
  5. Housing for Poors.
SIA mandatory for every type of project.SIA not needed for

  1. Those five categories listed above
  2. PPP projects, IF Government owns the land.
Building private hospitals and private educational institutes will also count as “public purpose”. Means, they too can acquire land if 80% affected families agreed.
Compensation:

  1. 4 times the market rate in rural area.
  2. 2 times in urban area.
Remains the same.
Stringent provisions for relief and rehabilitation (R&R).remains the same
Private “companies” can acquire land for public purpose.Private “entities” can acquire. Meaning private companies, NGOs, trusts, foundations, charity bodies, proprietors etc. too can acquire land for “public purpose”.
If any mischief played on Government’s part then head of the department will be responsible.
  • Head of the department can’t be prosecuted without prior sanction of government (under CrPC Section 197).
  • This “immunity” is given to ensure bureaucrats don’t sit on the files, fearing media-trials and judicial activism.

Land ordinance: Criticism/Anti-arguments

  1. Given the “Immunity” against prosecution, Bureaucrats will play mischief in land acquisition, to help Raabert Vaadra types unabated.
  2. Those “five exempted categories” are very broad- particularly “infrastructure and social-infrastructure”. So, Pretty much all projects can be done without social impact assessment or taking consent of 70-80% of affected families. Entire LARR-2013 is made invalid through clever-wordplay.
  3. Social impact assessment (SIA) not required in five types of projects. So, local laborers, artisans, small traders will either get zero or very small relief package, even if their livelihood is lost because of industrial/infrastructure project.
  4. Private colleges and hospitals too can acquire land. BUT if they continue to charge hefty-fees then no real ‘public-purpose’ is served. Mushrooming of self-financed bogus-quality Engineering, Pharmacy and MCA colleges doesn’t help reaping India’s demographic dividend.
  5. Ordinance doesn’t specifically say that such private hospitals and school/colleges are exempt from “Social impact assessment” (SIA). But they too can dodge SIA-bullet by claiming it’s a “social-infrastructure” project.
  6. In parliamentary democracy, Ordinance should be used only for dire emergency. Modi could have waited till budget session, and get proper approval from parliament. [Counter-argument: there was deadline of 1/1/2015].

Appendix-I: Examples of Public Purpose acquisition

  1. Strategic projects e.g. missile silos, anti-aircraft batteries, artillery installments and army bunkers.
  2. All type of infrastructure projects and PPP projects.
  3. Cold storage, Packaging-Processing units for Agriculture produce, dairy, fisheries and meat.
  4. Industrial corridors and manufacturing clusters.
  5. Education, research, vocational institutes.
  6. Sports, healthcare, tourism, space-tech.
  7. Housing for low income group.
  8. Creating new houses/towns for people affected in natural or manmade disasters.

Appendix-II: 13 central laws exempted

  • If land is acquired for any of these 13 central laws, then LARR-2013 Act’s provisions will not apply (For a year).
  • Within that time, Government had to amend those 13 laws to give fair compensation. Since Modi couldn’t do it, he got an ordinance cleared to extends LARR-high-compensation rates to these central laws:
These Acts were exempted from LARR-Act-2013 but covered via Ordinance
Old ActYear
Land Acquisition (Mines) Act1885
Indian Tramways Act1886
Damodar Valley Corporation Act1948
Resettlement of Displaced Persons (Land Acquisition) Act1948
Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act1952
National Highways Act1956
Coal Bearing Areas Acquisition and Development Act1957
Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites Act1958
Atomic Energy Act1962
Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines Act1962
Metro Railways (Construction of Works) Act1978
Railways Act1989
Electricity Act2003

Mock Questions

Q1. Suppose, Government enacted a new law to acquire any land from anybody without any compensation, then which of the following fundamental rights will be affected?

  1. 19/b
  2. 19/c
  3. 19/d
  4. 19/e

Q2. Under Land ordinance 2014, consent of affected families and social impact assessment is mandatory for which of the following projects?

  1. Defense production
  2. Housing for low income group
  3. Rural electrification

Answer choices

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. None of them

Q3. Under Land ordinance 2014, who among the following can acquire private land for public purpose?

  1. One person company
  2. Public limited company
  3. private limited company
  4. Educational trust.
  5. Religious charity organization

Answer choices

  1. Only 2 and 3
  2. Only 1, 2 and 3
  3. Only 1, 2, 3 and 4
  4. All of them

Q4. Under Land ordinance 2014

  1. Revenue officials at district and state level, can be prosecuted without prior approval of Government.
  2. Every state is mandated to setup a dispute settlement authority under retire chief justice of high court.
  3. Both A and B
  4. Neither A nor B

Q5. Land Acquisition, Rehab, Resettlement Act (LARR) 2013

  1. Provides compensation of 4xtimes market rates for land acquired near urban areas.
  2. Puts certain restriction on acquisition of fertilize land to ensure food security for India.
  3. Makes head of the department personally accountable for any illegalities committed by staff under him.

Answer choices

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. All of them

Q6. Which of the following Central-department is responsible for implementing Land Acquisition, Rehab, and Resettlement Act (LARR) 2013?

  1. Department of Land resources
  2. Department of Land Development
  3. Department of agriculture
  4. None because it falls under State Government.

Q7. Which of the following act/ordinance exclude the jurisdiction of autonomous council during land acquisition process in 6th Schedule areas?

  1. UPA’s Land Acquisition, Rehab, Resettlement Act (LARR) 2013.
  2. Modi’s Land ordinance 2014
  3. Both A and B
  4. Neither A nor B.

Q8. President’s ordinance making powers are defined in Article ___?

  1. 121
  2. 122
  3. 123
  4. 124

Q9. President of India can make ordinance on which of the following matters?

  1. Price control
  2. Lunacy
  3. Gas and gas works

Answer choices

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. None of them

Q10. IF parliament doesn’t approve an ordinance, it’ll expire in ___.

  1. Six days
  2. Six weeks
  3. Six months
  4. Immediately when both houses are adjourned-sine-die.

Q11. Consider following statements about the ordinance making powers of the President of India.

  1. He can issue ordinances in retrospective manner.
  2. He can repeal any act made by parliament using an ordinance.
  3. His ordinance powers are inspired from American Constitution.

Answer choices

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. None of them

Q12. The fundamental right to acquire, hold and dispose of property, was eliminated by which amendment?

  1. 41st
  2. 42nd
  3. 43rd
  4. 44th

Descriptive Questions for Mains exam

  1. Lack of coherent policy on land acquisition has harmed both the farmers and entrepreneurs, discuss in the backdrop of LARR Act-2013 and Land Ordinance 2014.
  2. Narrate the circumstances leading to enactment of Land Ordinance 2014 and its likely impact on Indian economy.
  3. (Mains-2014) The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 has come into effect from 1st January, 2014. What are the key issues which would get addressed with the Act in place? What implications would it have on industrialization and agriculture in India?
  4. (Interview) What’re views on this whole controversy surrounding Modi’s ordinance raj?

For more articles on Polity and Rights issues, visit Mrunal.org/POLITY.

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125 Comments on “[Polity] Land Ordinance 2014 vs. Land Acquisition Act 2013: Salient Features, Comparison & Criticism”

  1. Dear Sir

    I think that the LARR Act, 2013 stated that the 13 Acts exempted from its purview at the time of enactment had to be brought in consonance with it (within a period of 1 year from the date of enactment) through a notification. (A Govt. notification would have sufficed in this case and there was no need to amend all of the 13 laws separately, had the Modi govt. no intention of making any amendments in the LARR Act, 2013 itself.)

    Hence, though I feel that the complex and impractical character of the LARR Act, 2013 (as rightly pointed out by you) made it necessary to amend the Act itself and therefore the Ordinance (owing to lack of majority in the Rajya Sabha), the 13 laws have nothing to do with it.

  2. @mrunal sir. i’m watching your videos, they are awesome. but i hv a query about polity. do i need to read political science ncert, if i’m preparing upsc-cse. isn’t laxmikant sufficient?

  3. No buddy its not an Indian innovation. We have taken it from Govt of india act 1935

  4. 1) official gazette publication after news paper publication & public notice of substance place in section 4
    2) Public notice in section 6(2) have not publish
    3) schdule two benifit canbe available for land owner whose land is aquired under proceeding under land acquisition act 1894
    4) award prepare without consideration of attached assets, schdule two and market rate of open area

    pls give reply

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