Gravediggers have not given up

On September 1, 2013 I wrote this post on the Land Acquisition Bill of 2013.  Read this to understand the culpability of the previous BJP leadership in passing the original Land Acquisition Bill.

The new NDA government now tries to pass some amendments to make the Act a little less problematic in implementation. It is far from a paradigm shift. If anything, the most troublesome aspects of the original legislation remain intact. The new BJP-led NDA government is tinkering at the margins.

[The BJP has put out a ‘Resource’ page on the Ordinance. The language is downright embarrassing. It is impossible to believe that they could not find some one to do a decent English version.]

The government is not changing any of the compensation provisions to farmers. It is merely trying to reduce the potential wastage of time involved in so many procedures that are embedded in the original bill. Read this factual article in THE HINDU.

The Ordinance does not really help improve or lower the direct costs of Land Acquisition. The compensation provisions remain untouched which are a multiple of the land values – clearly overvalued – in an inefficient market for land in India.

The non-partisan Parliament Research Service (www.prsindia.org) had put out an estimate of the time required to acquire Land under the bill, on September 6, 2013. It would take not less than 50 months assuming no extensions.

Yet, it has met with fierce opposition, including from the NDA coalition partners! We do not know the other reasons why everyone – including allies – want to gang up against the government. Clearly, some egos have been more than ruffled in the last nine months.

But, what can one say of others? Anna Hazare, for example? But, these people could be mere puppets while the ringmasters are elsewhere.

If the business of land acquisition is costly and cumbersome, no land will be acquired or far less than intended. Period. One can have the best R&R compensation on paper. Transaction volumes will collapse. Farmers and the country will remain poor. Mission accomplished.

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