As Parliament is likely to discuss the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Bill during the ongoing Budget session, the Economic Survey has called for striking a balance between the need for economic growth and costs imposed on displaced people.

The Survey said rural infrastructure and development programmes such as Bharat Nirman, Indira Awas Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana are achieving higher degree of rural-urban integration.

The Survey wants land readjustment schemes to be encouraged by the Governments. “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,” the Survey said.

The Government has been maintaining that the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill 2011 is an effort to address the issues of the displaced and the investors.

The Survey suggests that with growing experience of large-scale land acquisition, the institutions set up can be fine-tuned. In the last fiscal, the Survey points out, 20 projects accounted for almost 70 per cent 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.”.

Land, according to the Survey, is probably the single most valuable asset in the country today. “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 be set up.”

(This article was published on February 27, 2013)
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