SRINAGAR: The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013 is not applicable to Jammu and Kashmir, but the state will consider implementing “some best practices” introduced by it, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed told New Delhi Wednesday.
“J&K has its own J&K State Land Acquisition Act 1990 (1934AD). The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013 is not applicable in J&K. Our state has been a frontrunner in bringing historic legislations on land reforms and anti-defection. We may still want to adopt some best practices in light of the changing situation,” Sayeed said.
The chief minister was speaking during the discussion on the proposed changes to the Act in the second governing council meeting of NITI Aayog—the new policy think tank—in New Delhi. Chief Ministers of 16 states attended the meeting, which was chaired by Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi.
Sayeed, however, indicated that the state has the option to amend its own land acquisition Act to make it suit “the aspirations of the people” and “to meet the state’s developmental needs”.
“While there were no disagreements over the issue of compensation, relief and rehabilitation, there were some concerns on consent and social impact assessment in the proposed changes suggested in the Act,” he said.
Sharing his state’s perspective over the proposed changes in the land acquisition Act, the chief minister said, some states and ministries have, as per Agenda notes, reported difficulties in the implementation of the 2013 Act.
“It may as such be desirable to build some flexibility in the Act. However, the most important consideration is that the investment climate should not be vitiated,” he stressed, while highlighting the enormous challenge the state has been facing on the development and security fronts.
Referring to the perception being created about the proposed changes to the land acquisition Act of 2013 being anti-farmer, he urged upon the prime minister to take all political parties, including the opposition, on board.
Sayeed said J&K has been grappling with the challenge of development in “extremely difficult and trying” circumstances for more than two decades now. The need, he said, is to ensure inclusive development of all regions and segments of the society.
Pointing out the difficulties faced by the state in acquiring land for flagship projects like that of construction of railway lines and highways, Sayeed stressed upon “dovetailing the component of employment with compensation for land, so as to provide some sort of economic security to the people who donated major chunks of land, their only source of livelihood”.
Calling to bid farewell to the contrived policy of “one size fits all” on the issue of development, the chief minister asked New Delhi to build “a greater degree of freedom” that allows the states “some flexibility in adopting national policies to local conditions and constraints”.
“The dream of becoming a strong nation will only be realised by building consensus with states and making them equal partners in the country’s development,” he stated, complimenting Modi on promoting cooperative federalism and establishing NITI Aayog.