Equity in Land Acquisition: Impact of India’s LARR Act 2013 on Infrastructure Development

Posted On - 20 April, 2024 • By - King Stubb & Kasiva


The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) Act 2013, which is one of the most significant legislation in India, focused on improving the land acquisition process for developmental projects. This article examines the fundamental components of the LARR Act of 2013, laying emphasis on its goals, main provisions, amendments, impacts, obstacles, case studies, and the outlook for the future.

Understanding the LARR Act 2013

The LARR Act 2013 came into effect by the Indian parliament to streamline the procedures for land acquisition by the public. It was an answer to the general apprehension about the unequal appropriation of farmland and the native community with no fair compensation and inadequate rehabilitation measures. The main goal of the LARR Act is to ensure that the process of land acquisition is done transparently and fairly, providing protection to the landowners and at the same time enabling necessary development projects.

Objectives and Scope

The fundamental objectives of the LARR Act are twofold: the fundamental role of the government is to guarantee a just and transparent land acquisition process and to ensure fair compensation as well as rehabilitation for those whose lands are taken. The Act pertains to the acquisition of land with different objectives, which include the construction of government buildings, roads, railways, airports, and other important infrastructure projects.

Key Provisions

The LARR Act incorporates several key provisions to safeguard the interests of landowners and promote fairness in the acquisition process:

  • Consent of Landowners: The law says that the consent of at least 70 percent of the landowners (80 percent, in case of public-private partnerships) is required prior to land acquisition for public purposes.
  • Compensation and Rehabilitation: It guarantees farmers the right to receive compensation at least twice as higher as the market value of farmland in the countryside and four times higher than the market value of urban land. Furthermore, it introduces the need for enough preparatory actions to be taken, such as rehabilitation and resettlement, before the land acquisition.
  • Social Impact Assessment: This procedure requires to perform a social impact assessment that allows to estimate the impact of land acquisition on the local community and to suggest the ways of overcoming the negative consequences.
  • Return of Unutilized Land: Every land acquired but remains empty longer than five years must be returned to the original possessors or the state authority.

Amendments and Updates

Since its enactment, the LARR Act has undergone amendments to address concerns and enhance its effectiveness:

  • Amendments in 2014: Actions allowed the government to decide on the social impact assessment of some projects such as defense and rural infrastructures and irrigation projects with the consent of landowners.
  • Amendments in 2015: The rules were enhanced to ensure that farmers get extra pay if they later sell the land at a higher price.

Impact on Land Acquisition Process

The implementation of LARR Act has brought a new turn in the way land acquisition is done in India. Previously, the process was tainted by the use of force to acquire land and the provision of insufficient compensation. However, the process is now more open and fairer. The landowners get the rightful amount of compensation and the construction of the new road will also be carried out in a manner that minimizes protests and legal disputes. On the other hand, the consequence could mean a delay and high cost of development projects which can be a problem for the economy.

Challenges and Controversies

Despite its positive impact, the LARR Act has encountered challenges and controversies:

  • Opposition from Industry and Political Parties: Some stakeholders say that the act has led to delays and increases in infrastructure project costs.
  • Inadequate Compensation and Rehabilitation: Critics argue that the act provides insufficient compensation and rehabilitation measures, thus cannot fully protect the interests of the landowners.
  • Disputes over Land Ownership: Land ownership disputes, though still a widespread problem in India, are liable to cause delays and legal obstacles in the process of land acquisition.

Case Studies and Examples

Several case studies demonstrate the influence the LARR Act had on land acquisition in India. The most evident one is the Navi Mumbai International Airport project[1], which was delayed because of land acquisition problems but went ahead smoothly after the implementation of the LARR Act.

Comparison with Previous Legislation

The Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013 replaced the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 which introduced comprehensive provisions for the protection of landowners’ rights and a fair acquisition process. It was the landowner’s consent that was a major new addition to the law, which had not been there before.

Future Outlook and Implications

The future of the LARR Act is largely dependent on its effectiveness in dealing with the ever-changing issues in a manner that considers all landowners’ and the development needs. Whether its implementation is effective and the adjustment of its provisions to changing needs play a role or not will determine its impact on the Indian economy and development projects.


The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement Act 2013 has entered a new era in the country which is now characterized by fairness and transparency in the process of acquiring land for public purposes. In spite of all these challenges, its implementation still leaves a fair process that benefits landowners and commercial users. The act in the future is in its adaptability and upholding the interest of all stakeholders in the dynamic environment of development infrastructure.

[1] https://uaps2015.popconf.org/papers/151200

King Stubb & Kasiva,
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