India circulates draft land acquisition bill

July 29th, 2011 - 6:11 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) The government Friday released a draft land acquisition bill that seeks to put in place a legal framework to not only protect the interests of owners and prospective buyers, but also those whose livelihoods depend on the acquired physical asset.

Land markets in India being imperfect, the government intends to enact a transparent and flexible set of rules and regulations and to ensure its enforcement, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh says in the foreword to the draft.

In recent years, there have been a spate of protests, some even turning violent, over acquisition of farmland for housing and industrial projects, calling for a transparent set of rules that balances the need for industrialisation with the issue of livelihood.

“Under our Constitution, land is a State subject, but land acquisition is a Concurrent subject. So far, the basic law governing the land acquisition process has been the Land Acquisition Act, 1894,” Ramesh said.

“Although it has been amended from time to time, it is painfully evident that the basic law has become archaic,” he added.

“The draft bill is being placed in the public domain as part of the pre-legislative consultative process. Comments are invited preferably before Aug 31,” Ramesh said, adding land records will also be updated and digitised to induce transparency.

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