ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Land Acquisition Bill: A Critique and a Proposal

The 2011 Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill on land acquisition recently tabled in Parliament is well-intentioned but seriously flawed. Its principal defect is that it attaches an arbitrary mark-up to the historical market price to determine compensation amounts. This will guarantee neither social justice nor the efficient use of resources. The Bill also places unnecessary and severe conditions on land acquisition, such as restrictions on the use of multi-cropped land and insistence on public purpose, all of which are going to stifle the pace of development without promoting the interests of farmers. We present an alternative approach that will allow farmers to choose compensation in either land or cash, determine their own price instead of leaving it to the government's discretion, and also reallocate the remaining farmland in the most efficient manner. Our proposed method involves a land auction covering not only the project site but also the surrounding agricultural land.

Maitreesh Ghatak, Parikshit Ghosh

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