Land Acquisition in India: Policy and Politics.
Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (RFCTLARR), 2013, that came into force on 1st of January 2014 marked a major landmark in decades of struggle by activist groups and populations marginalized by the development bandwagon being pushed by the state. Though not a match for the aspirations of equitable and sustainable development, the impugned act did provide some semblance of justice by providing provisions for people’s participation in decision making processes in development projects. However, the recent amendments brought in the act by way of an ordinance exactly in a years time after the act was implemented, appear to have done away with any pretence of ensuring social justice and have laid bare the development priorities of the state. Present paper delineates the historical trajectory of law related to land acquisition in India reflecting upon the socio-political milieu of the times and seeks to place the current developments in perspective. It argues that changes in social policy over the decades are reflective of the structural changes in the nature of governance, and in the same vein the impugned act reflects the increasingly neoliberal stance of governance in the country. It questions the argument of ‘eminent domain of the state’ for land acquisition and highlights that despite a populist claim the present act fails to grant legitimacy to land acquisitions by the state.
| Posted on:
04 Mar 2015
Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai