The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 shall come into force on January 1, 2014 as notified by the Central Government. The Act will replace the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, a nearly 120-year-old law enacted during British rule and lays emphasis on Rehabilitation & Resettlement in cases of land acquisition. The salient features of this Act are as follows:-
1. Giving priority to the interests of farmers, landless labourers, dalits and farmers, the Act concerns only such cases where the land will be acquired by Central or State Authorities for any public purpose.
2. Before the acquisition of any land, the Government is required to consult the concerned Panchayat or Municipal Corporation and carry out a Social Impact Assessment in consultation with them.
3. The Act provides a transparent process for land acquisition for industrialization, development of essential infrastructural facilities and urbanization by giving adequate financial compensation to the affected people.
4. Laying down special provisions for food security, the Act under Section 10 provides that multi-crop irrigated land will not be acquired except as a demonstrably last resort measure and wherever the same is done, an equivalent area of culturable wasteland shall be developed for agricultural purposes. States are also required to set a limit on the area of agricultural land that can be acquired in any given district.
5. It also provides for leasing of land to developers, instead of sale, so that the ownership will remain with the original land holders and they can also have a regular income by way of lease rent; the terms of lease to be laid down by the State Government according to type of land, location, market rates etc.
6. It provides for the establishment of National Monitoring Committee for rehabilitation and resettlement at the Centre as well as State and Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authority for speedy disposal of cases.
7. The Act prescribes a punishment of six months imprisonment in case of contravention of any provision relating to payment of compensation or rehabilitation and resettlement and of six months or one lakh rupees fine for providing misleading or false information or documents.
8. It also provides for the temporary occupation and use of any waste or arable land for a period of not more than three years for public purposes by the Government.
9. The Act has provisions to provide fair compensation to those whose land is taken away, brings transparency to the process of acquisition of land to set up factories or buildings, infrastructural projects and assures rehabilitation of those affected.
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