Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Ordinance 2014: a process perspective
This paper captures the policy processes leading to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (RFCTLARR) Ordinance, 2014. It maps the role and the influence of the three primary stakeholders - Government, industry and landowners - at various stages of the evolution of the land acquisition law in India. Land acquisition has remained a controversial issue in India resulting in conflicts between social, economic and political structures. The RFCTLARR Act 2013 was an attempt by the earlier Government to provide a fair deal to the landowners who had suffered due to the weak framework of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. The Government also had one year until December 31, 2014 to decide on whether 13 Special Acts which had land acquisition privileges should come under this Act or be exempted. However, the Act soon faced resistance from the industry due to the impact of clauses like social impact assessment, rehabilitation and resettlement, and consent requirements on projects done in public interest. After constant pressure from the industry and consultations from the State Governments, the new Government finally brought in amendments to the 2013 Act. Given the one year deadline and the washout of the winter session of Parliament, it brought in the amendment through an ordinance.