The proposed Land Acquisition Bill: putting livelihoods first

A coherent policy response to the tough social questions raised by compulsory land acquisition is long overdue. Conflicts have escalated, while successive governments failed to enact a law protecting the livelihoods of affected people. The proposed Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill 2011 is a major step forward in this regard. However, a number of loopholes in the bill need to be addressed. Otherwise, it will not respond adequately to the sensitive nature of India’s land situation and instead, make the conflict more intractable by covering unchanged practices under a new law.