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

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On the Land Question in 21st Century India

The Price of Land: Acquisition, Conflict, Consequence by Sanjoy Chakravorty (OUP India), 2013; pp 304, Rs 825.

Preeti Sampat ( is a doctoral candidate in anthropology at the City University of New York, the United States, working on land rights and infrastructure policy.

Conflicts over land and resources are now a marked feature of the Indian growth story. Intense citizen resistance and their electoral implications are leading capitalist and state interests to call land acquisition the “biggest problem” for economic growth, even as token attempts at “inclusive growth” are made. The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013 (RTFCTLARRA) is one such attempt at “inclusion”, with state-determined social impact assessments, higher compensation, and, rehabilitation and resettlement mechanisms (Sampat 2013).

Sanjoy Chakravorty’s book, written and published before RTFCTLARRA 2013 was enacted, shares a fundamental premise with the new law – both valorise economic growth and urbanisation and place “the price of land” at the heart of land acquisition conflicts, albeit with differing resolutions.

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