Daily Answer Writing And Mentorship Program
Q: “A transparent and well-regulated Land Pooling system has the potential to solve the problems associated with the current Land Acquisition Framework” Critically Analyze (15 Marks, 250 Words)
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India is a country with high population density and huge land scarcity. Therefore, land acquisition is slowly becoming more and more difficult, and it is hindering developmental activities. Further, the land acquisition system has also become unpopular due to complaints of low compensation and forceful acquisition. The system of land pooling comes as a ray of home in this scenario to ensure that the developmental activities are not hindered, and the original landowners are also satisfied.
What is Land Pooling?
- Under Land Pooling Policy, a development agency pools land parcels owned by individuals, a group of owners or a builder. Then it develops the land and returns a part of it to the original owners. In this way, the land is made available for development work and a part of developed land returned to the owner is worth more than the original value of the land, thus satisfying the original owners.
Advantages of Land Pooling Policy
- Unlocking huge parcel of land for development -> Land Acquisition is becoming unattractive for people, and this may appear as an alternative and attractive option.
- This would also contribute to reducing stress on already developed areas and may also restrict price escalation in these areas.
- It thus emerges as a transformative step for urbanization.
- It also promotes public-private partnership and trust -> this is due to wider community participation in the whole process of land pooling, development and return of ownership.
- Aggregates small land piece for bigger projects. This leads to more efficient utilization of land.
- Reduced initial cost for development authority -> As there is no need to buy the land for the developmental projects.
- Less conflict ridden as is the case of Land Acquisition due to inadequate compensation, consent, process etc.
- Original Owners will also be benefitted as the land returned to them, though smaller in size, have access to infrastructure and services which increases the value of the land drastically. Further, the landowners are not displaced in the land pooling scenario.
- Poor System of land records can be a concern here. Participation in land pooling is dependent on the owner having proper land ownership documents.
- In the case of pooling for Amravati even fertile agricultural land was also pooled.
- Unlike land acquisition, the provisions for the social or environmental impact assessment are absent in case of land pooling. Therefore, the impact on landless laborers and on the environment is generally ignored or very meagre compensation is paid to landless workers.
- There have been instances of mandatory land pooling. For e.g., in case of Navi Mumbai Airport Land Pooling, the pooling was made mandatory because of the delays in the process.
- There is a need for a transparent regulatory framework with statutory backing to ensure that the land pooling process is transparent, consensual and doesn’t use agricultural or environmentally sensitive zones. Further, this framework should also provide for mandatory social and environmental impact assessments before the beginning of the developmental work.
Land Pooling if done on non-agricultural land (for e.g., in urban villages) and along with social and environmental impact assessments, can emerge as a tool of transformative urban development which is beneficial for all the three parties i.e., the landowners, the private sector and the government. Landowners get better value and better quality of land; private players can participate in commercial and developmental processes and the government is able to facilitate development.