A Framework for Evaluation of Land Acquisitions in India: Sustainable Development Perspective
XLRI Jamshedpur Working Paper No. 08-12
14 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2008
Date Written: December 8, 2008
Land acquisition, either for state sponsored development or for private business projects, have faced opposition in the past and this is a continuing phenomenon even now. However, what had changed over the years are the reasons for opposition that have become far more broad-based now. Our analysis of the land acquisition attempts in the last four decades (1970 onwards) identified three major reasons for opposition to land acquisitions viz. (1) Environmental concerns constituted major aspect of project risk in the 1970s; (2) Social concerns and associated conflicts emerged as prominent aspect of business risk in the 1990s; (3) Demand for more equitable benefit sharing between the project proponents and local communities emerged as the third project risk category in the new millennium.
This paper argues that the three pillars of Sustainable Development viz. environmental concerns, social concerns and equitable distribution of benefits, each one of them individually or in combinations, have the potential to unite communities to oppose land-acquisitions. It further identifies the opposition to land acquisitions and projects as an expression of desire on part of the local population to have some measure of control over their own future, and to participate in the development process from the earliest stages.
The paper recommends that to successfully access land and other natural resources, companies have to internalize the sustainable development paradigm, in its broadest sense, into their operations, land acquisitions and business proposals.
The paper goes onto suggest an integrative framework that internalizes environmental, social and equitable benefit sharing concerns into land acquisition proposals.
Keywords: Land acquisition, India, Sustainable Development, infrastructure projects, Social consent to operate, Going beyond compliance, Integrated framework
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