Real Estate Revamp: Highlights Of Land Acquisition Bill 2015
The contentious Land Acquisition Bill, which was passed almost unanimously in 2013 under the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, has been reintroduced with a few amendments in 2015 under the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. The amendments are aimed at making it much easier for industries to acquire land for building infrastructure. This, many argue, will spur growth in real estate in India and hence, in the nation's economy.
Loopholes could mean stormy future
A few factors, however, have led to widespread criticism of the amendments with a number of Opposition parties even staging a 'walk-out' from Parliament. These parties include the Congress, Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress and Biju Janata Dal. There is also some ambiguity around the passing of the law in the Rajya Sabha because of lack of a clear majority.
Long overdue respite for industrialists
The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, which replaced the Acquisition Act of 1894, had been frustrating for many industries because they have not been able to acquire land for development.
Some of the Land Acquisition Bill highlights are that land acquisition can only be done for industrial purposes proposed by the government, land acquired for the industrial corridor cannot be more than 1 km in extent, and social infrastructure projects will be relieved from the consent clause. Also, according to the new amendment, if possession of acquired land under Act 1984 is not done, the new law will be applied. Nonetheless, the new amendments will make the land acquisition process much easier and will boost upcoming projects like roads, airports and upcoming apartments in India.
Here are some of the Land Acquisition Bill 2015 highlights discussed in detail:
Consent clause removal: Apart from social infrastructure, the land acquisition bill 2015 exempts consent clause for land acquisition for these areas -- industrial corridors, public private partnership projects, rural infrastructure, affordable homes and defense. According to the new amendments, the aforementioned areas would also be relieved from Social Impact Assessment and acquisition of irrigated multi cropped land and other agricultural property, which had a limit on acquiring in the earlier Bill.
Return of unutilized land: The 2013 land acquisition bill demanded that if a certain land parcel remains unutilized for five years, it will have to be returned to the owner. In 2015, that law has become a little flexible. The new amendments states that the time after which a land if unutilized needs to be returned to the owner is five years as before, or it can be a time which will be decided by both parties when the deal is being finalized. Unutilized land will be returned after whichever period is later.
'Private entity' is the new 'private company': In the law passed by the UPA government, it was stated that land can be acquired for private companies. The 2015 amendment has replaced the word company by entity. The present government has defined a private entity as any entity which is not a government body, and could be a partnership, company, proprietorship, corporation, non-profit organization, or some other entity under any other law.
About offences: If a government official or the head of the department commits an offence, he or she won't be prosecuted until the prosecution is sanctioned by the government.