New Delhi: With many big industrial projects unable to make headway due to opposition to land acquisition, the Economic Survey today called for striking a balance between the need for economic growth and costs imposed on displaced people.
According to the Survey for 2012-13 tabled in Parliament, encouragement needs to be given to land readjustment schemes, where when an area is identified for development, owners participate by giving up some of their land for infrastructure creation, but get back the rest, with the benefit that its value is enhanced by the infrastructure.
"Given that the people currently living on the identified land will suffer significant costs, including the loss of property and livelihoods, a balance has to be drawn between the need for economic growth and the costs imposed on the displaced," it said.
The right to fair compensation and transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill 2011, currently before Parliament, attempts to draw such a balance. With growing experience of large-scale land acquisition, the institutions set up can be fine-tuned to achieve its aims.
A few of the major land acquisition related controversies in recent times include Posco's proposed steel plant in Orissa and various real estate projects in Uttar Pradesh.
As of December 2012, about 80 percent of all stalled projects belonged to six sectors -- electricity, roads, telecommunication services, steel, real estate and mining.
"... In 2011-12, 20 projects accounted for almost 70 percent of total cost of shelved projects. An analysis of these 20 individual projects suggests difficulties in land acquisition, coal linkages and mining bans as major causes," the Survey highlighted.
As large-scale land acquisition is still at a nascent stage, central schemes should allow room for states to experiment and modify in light of their own experiences.
Stating that land is probably the single most valuable asset in the country today, the Survey said greater liquidity for land will allow more resources to be redeployed in agriculture and it could also ease the way for land-utilising businesses to set up.
"Perhaps as important, it could allow land to serve as collateral for credit. Three important needed steps are -- to map land carefully and assign conclusive title, to facilitate land leasing and to create a fair but speedy process of land acquisition for public purposes," it added.
Besides, prohibition of land leasing raises the cost to rural-urban migration as villagers are unable to lease their land and often have to leave it untilled or leave a family member behind to work on the land.
First Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013, 18:22