Close on the heels of Prime Minister Narendra Modi clearing the air on the Land Ordinance, the government is getting ready to implement the Land Act, 2013.

It is also expected that when the revised Bill, based on the report of Joint Parliamentary Panel, will be brought during the winter session, the government would try to set January 1, 2014 as the date for implementation of rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) provision for 13 Central Acts under the Land Law of 2013.

“It appears now that the Land Act 2013 will continue with some minor amendments. Accordingly, the effort is to issue required rules and notification. At the same time, effort will be to prepare the administration to implement LAAR Act (Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act),” a senior Government official told BusinessLine .

The Prime Minister, on Sunday, announced the government’s decision not to re-promulgate the ordinance and restore the pre-NDA status of Land Law.

The official said that drafts in simple language are getting ready for various processes to be completed under the act. This includes the format of document related with the proposal to acquire land, and process for completing consent process. These drafts will also have ‘to do list’ to make the work easier.

“In fact the proposal is to undertake consent process in a transparent manner and through a secret ballot kind of system with one time opportunity given to individuals to reconsider decisions,” he said.

There is also a plan to empanel 50-60 agencies such as Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to conduct Social Impact Assessment (SIA) in areas where land is to be acquired.

“People from these agencies, then, will be taken to the Administrative Staff College of India (Hyderabad) for special workshop on SIA. This college has a Centre for Excellence on Land Reforms,” he said.

The Land Act of 2013 has come into effect from January 1, 2014. However, the implementation has been patchy. Barring a few acres in Punjab and Odisha, no land was acquired under the three ordinances promulgated between December and now.

Future of 13 Acts

The Centre on August 28 issued an executive order to bring 13 Central Acts such as those related to Metros and Highways under the Land Act to ensure that compensation will be up to four times the market value in rural areas and twice the market value of land in urban areas besides rehabilitation and resettlement benefits not only for land losers but also for livelihood losers.

The official said the government is likely to bring an amendment in the Act to make this effective from January 1, 2014.

“No land has been acquired under these 13 Acts since January 1, 2015 and also during January 1 and December 31, 2014. No proposal was initiated during the period. But just to avoid legal issues, we are making it effective from the date when the Land Act came into existence,” he explained.

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