'Modified land bill draft to be retrospective'
New Delhi: Some modifications have been made to the draft land acquisition bill by tightening the definition of public purpose and introducing a new clause for its retrospective implementation, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Friday.
He said the draft legislation for land acquisition and rehabilitation and resettlement of the affected has been sent with modifications for inter-ministerial consultations, and hoped it would be introduced in the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament.
"We have circulated a revised draft bill for inter-ministerial consultations on August 12. We are hoping that the bill will be introduced in this session," Ramesh said.
The draft bill was placed in public domain for consultations last month.
Ramesh said several suggestions have been received for tightening the definition of public purpose to remove scope of its misuse.
He said, "Land for railways, highways, ports, power and irrigation purposes for use by government or public sector companies" has been included in the definition of public purpose”.
The new definition also specifies conditions under which consent of at least 80 percent of project affected people would be obtained through a prior process.
Ramesh said the bill will apply to all cases of land acquisition where before the date of commencement of the act, "the award has not been made under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, or, possession of land has not been taken regardless of whether award has been made or not".
He said special benefits under rehabilitation and resettlement available to the Scheduled Tribes have been extended to the Scheduled Castes.
A modification has also been made in rehabilitation and resettlement provisions. These provisions now become applicable if the land purchased is 100 acres in rural areas and 50 acres in urban areas. The draft bill said these would be applicable if land acquired exceeds 100 acres.
Ramesh said that the sum to be paid by the land acquirer if he is not able to provide employment has been increased from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.