Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on Thursday said that the recently enacted Land Acquisition Bill would protect the rights of the farmers who were rendered landless. He asserted that protecting rights of landowners as well as the landless would act as a guiding principle for the newly formulated law.
"What we should do in this act is not only protect the interests of the land owners but also somehow protect the concerns and interests of the landless and those livelihood are lost on account of land acquisition. So it is not just land owners but even the landless who should benefit from this act," he said while addressing a conference at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here.
The bill, which will replace a century-old law, is historic and revolutionary as it seeks to provide fair and just compensation to farmers and to those who lose their livelihood on account of acquisition. Commenting on this, Ramesh highlighted the flaws of the old Bill. “The 1894 Act was fundamentally flawed because it was a colonial era legislation which gave draconian powers to the collectors and to the state governments and it had resulted in a situation where land acquisition became a matter of intense conflict across the country,” he added
The new bill proposes that farmers and landowners be paid up to four times the market value for land acquired in rural areas, and two times the market value in urban areas. The other significant aspect of the Bill is that the consent of 80% of landowners is needed for acquiring land for private projects and of 70% landowners for public-private projects.