The UPA, accused of prolonged policy paralysis, appears to be making a point to the corporate sector possibly to prevent it from moving towards an investor-friendly Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. More so, when the LARR Act itself has been largely silent on several fundamental issues pertaining to land use and on the definition of public purpose.
While the need to replace the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, was recognised by all political parties and some of the provisions of the new Act have been hailed as progressive, the exclusion from the main Act of as many as 13 Central laws under which the bulk of land acquisition is done as of now remains a matter of concern. It maybe recalled that the 1894 Act was amended drastically and a new piece of legislation was drafted following widespread protests by farmers and peasants over the arbitrary acquisitions of their land by the government, in many cases on behalf of the private sector. The new Act provides for a basic regulatory framework under which all land acquisition negotiations may be done under a time frame, and lays down firm parameters for social impact assessment, compensation and resettlement. Only in certain circumstances does the Act provide certain projects exemption from social impact assessment. In addition, monetary and non-monetary benefits have also been laid down in the Act.