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Kerala Leads Nation in NH Land Acquisition Contributions

  • 30 Dec 2023
  • 7 min read

For Prelims: Land Acquisition, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), Bharatmala Pariyojana

For Mains: Role of Bharatmala Pariyojana in Exemption from Sharing the Land Acquisition Cost.

Source: TH

Why in News?

Recently, the Ministry for Road Transport and Highways (MoRT&H) presented a document in Parliament which shows that Kerala has the highest amount of financial Burden followed by Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

  • The reason is being norms like state to bear 25% of the land acquisition cost for national highway development.

What are the Key Highlights of the Document?

  • The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has spent the highest share on land acquisition and related activities in Maharashtra in the past five years followed by Uttar Pradesh, and Kerala.
  • The Kerala has submitted a proposal for waiver of the 25% share for land acquisition for two projects of the NHAI- Ernakulam bypass and Kollam-Shenkottai stretch and exemption from sharing the land acquisition cost of the Outer Ring Road project by listing the project under the Bharatmala Pariyojana.
  • According to documents Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have to pay Rs. 3,114 crore and Rs. 2,301 crore respectively.
  • Key Facts About Road Network in India
    • India's road density at 1,926.02 per 1,000 sq.km of area in 2018-19 was higher than that of many developed countries though surfaced/paved road constituting 64.7 % of the total road length is comparatively lower than that of developed countries.
    • National Highways constituted 2.09% of the total road length of the country in 2019.
    • The balance road networks comprise of State Highways (2.9%), District Roads (9.6%), Rural Roads (7.1%), Urban Roads (8.5%) and Project Roads (5.4%).

What are the Challenges Related to Land Acquisition in India?

  • High Financial Cost: The financial cost of land acquisition in India has increased significantly due to the amended Land Acquisition Act of 2013, which provides higher compensation and consent requirements for land owners.
  • Environmental Clearance: Delays and uncertainties in obtaining environmental clearance and land acquisition notifications, which affect the project timelines and costs.
  • Conflicts and Protests: Affected communities oppose projects on the grounds of environmental, social, or cultural impacts.
  • Lack of Transparency and Accountability in Land Acquisition Process: As many landowners are not aware of their rights and entitlements and coerced to sell their land at low prices.
    • Government agencies engaged in land acquisition have been observed to exhibit actions that may seem occasionally deviate from the principles of natural justice and fair compensation.
  • Inadequate Legal Framework and Enforcement Mechanism for Land Acquisition: The existing laws governing land acquisition are outdated and complex, creating confusion and uncertainty for both the government and the landowners. The laws also lack clarity on various aspects of land acquisition, such as financial cost , environmental clearance, dispute resolution mechanisms etc.

What are the Initiatives taken by the Government to Reform the Land Acquisition Process?

Way forward

  • Improving Transparency and Accountability in the land acquisition process by adopting best practices such as online mapping systems, public hearings, social impact assessments, grievance redressal mechanisms, etc.
  • Ensuring fair compensation and rehabilitation for the affected people by adopting criteria such as market value, alternative sites, livelihood support, social security, etc.
  • Minimising environmental impacts of land acquisition by adopting measures such as environmental clearance, environmental impact assessment, mitigation measures, monitoring mechanisms, etc.
  • Reforming the legal framework for land acquisition by adopting measures such as simplifying laws, updating laws, harmonizing laws, strengthening enforcement mechanisms, etc.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Prelims

Q1. With reference to ‘National Investment and Infrastructure Fund’, which of the following statements is/are correct? (2017)

  1. It is an organ of NITI Aayog.
  2. It has a corpus of `4,00,000 crore at present.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (d)

  • The NIIF (National Investment and Infrastructure Fund) is overseen by the Investment Division of the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance. Hence, statement 1 is not correct.
  • The NIIF is currently managing three funds which are registered as an Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) under the SEBI Regulations. Those three funds are Master Fund, Strategic Fund and Fund of Funds and the proposed corpus of NIIF is `40,000 crore and not 4,00,000 crore. Hence, statement 2 is not correct. Therefore, option (d) is the correct answer.

Mains

Q. “Investment in infrastructure is essential for more rapid and inclusive economic growth.” Discuss in the light of India’s experience. (2021)

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