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National Policy for Development Planning, Minimum Displacement and Just Rehabilitation

Foreword

A Process towards a National Policy for Development Planning, Minimum Displacement and Just Rehabilitation

The history of struggle as well as discussion and debate regarding displacement and development has been a long one. Emerging out of this, there is also been years long process of consultation and drafting of the National Rehabilitation Policy carried forward by peoples organisations and official bodies. A draft prepared by Narmada Bachao Andolan (by Adv. Girish Patel, Medha Patkar) in 1987 was thoroughly discussed and finalised by the National Working group on displacement, involving eminent activists, lawyers and intellectuals such as Dr. B.D. Sharma, Baba Adhav, Smitu Kothari, Vasant Palhsikar, Achyut Yagnik, Pradip Prabhu, Vasudha Dhagamwar, Bittu Sehgal and others in 1987. Another national process initiated by Indian Social Institute including Prof. Vijay Paranjapye, S.R. Hiremath, Sharad Kulkarni, Walter Fernandez and others in 1990’s, led to a draft R&R policy.

These initiatives by the people’s movements and NGOs working in the field and on the policy changes since years involved a large number of common people especially the adivasis, dalits, other rural communities of farmers, fishworkers, artisans, labourers, forest dwellers and others facing the backlash of development. There was a debate with so called multiple stakeholders organised Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Masoorie. The draft policies brought out by the Planning Commission in mid- 90’s and the one by the Ministry Of Rural Development in 1998, incorporating non-governmental drafts were the government initiatives wherein we had participated and made extensive contributions.

However shelving these drafts, after a long lull, the NDA government brought out National Rehabilitation Policy-2003 - highly secretively and in an absolutely non-participatory, non-transparent manner. As a fate accompli, this was analysed and assessed by the people’s organizations who brought out a strong critique of the same and demanded that the UPA government start a consultative process not just to amend the NRP but also to review the serious-most issues of displacement & rehabilitation, and therefore think and work towards a comprehensive Act on Development Planning, minimum displacement, and Just rehabilitation.

Subsequently, a small group of concerned activists worked out a draft and presented the same to the National Advisory Council (NAC) through Aruna Roy and N.C. Saxena in 2004-2005. The national consultations; one held by the National Advisory Council at TISS, Mumbai and other national conventions such as one organised by National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements (NAPM) and collaborating organisations in Delhi, with participation of representatives of selected political parties and peoples' representatives helped consolidate diverse viewpoints and incorporate the varied comments, suggestions, etc into the draft. The same, we were told, not through any formal communication but informally, was passed by the National Advisory Council. Since then, the draft remained pending with the Central Cabinet on the excuse that there were questions and barriers to be faced and clarified, before it could get its sanction.

It is after one full year that a new draft, mostly related to and comparable with the NRP-2006, is brought out by the Ministry of Rural Development. The shortest time of 7 to 15 days granted by the Ministry for comments has killed the possibility of consultations even if those were to be initiated and carried out by the people’s movements and non governmental organizations. However the mandate is well spell out by now, not only by the people’s struggles but also the fundamental duties of the State and the civil society as enshrined in the Constitution of India. At a time when the scale of development induced displacement has grown to a large number & brutality as well as incapability of the State to rehabilitate those forcibly evicted is established, a fundamentally different yet most reasonable thinking has to emerge.

This can be described as follows:
a) The British legacy of land Acquisition without Rehabilitation must be left behind. The Land Acquisition Act, 1894 should be abolished and a new comprehensive legislation must be spell out (i) our development goals (as a reference) for defining public interest (ii) the planning process including options assessments and criteria for choice and (iii) the democratic structure as well as (iv) process – legal, humane - for minimum displacement and (v) just and fair rehabilitation – principles, provisions and processes with democratic, decentralised administrative structure
b) There should be an emphasis on the resources belonging to people and the people’s rights to statutory duties underlined in the Indian Constitution, not on the principle of eminent domain, which has created a havoc
c) The policy, must be a step towards minimizing the displacement and not for increasing it. The policy already on paper (prepared by a large group of activist and representatives of the development project affected) should be taken as a reference, for bringing out a consensual final policy statement. for ready reference
d) The unit of planning a project, not only rehabilitation, should be the smallest social unit, ie: hamlet / village in the rural areas and basti (of not more than 1000 families) in the urban area
e) The change in the utilization pattern of natural resources, including land, can occur without ‘displacement’, if it is in favour of the contributor/investor of the resource; voluntary and not without an alternative ensuring a better life/livelihood & share in the benefits. This would thus mean some change in the habitat in the location or source of livelihood, but not ‘displacement’ or even severe deprivation causing migration/destitution, even if at a later point
f) A large majority, including adivasis, dalits, farmers and laborers require protection from ‘evictions’ in the present context and hence no displacement without ‘prior informed consent’ should be acceptable in the case of any of the affected populations
g) The options assessment as a part of the project planning process also can begin at the smallest unit and needs to be finalized, pre-facto to ensure the appropriate option with minimum of overhauling, socio-environmental impacts, displacement to destruction and effective, efficient and just distribution of benefits
h) No use of force against the project affected should be acceptable and permissible in any development project
i) Rehabilitation would mean social, economic and cultural alternative way of life and hence can’t be attained without an alternative livelihood which needs to be land based (to be allotted as private and common property) for agriculturist populations, forest dwellers and nomadic pastoral communities affected
j) This policy should be for both rural (dalit and tribal) and urban populations and hence the any such draft needs a review by more than one ministry. A Consortium of ministries including Ministry for Rural Development, Ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment, Ministry for Tribal Affairs, Ministry for Human Resource Development, among others should be collectively taking this process forward
k) The earlier proposal and demand for a National Resettlement & Rehabilitation Commission seems to have been omitted from the present policy draft. The NRRC was suggested in the earlier drafts as a national level redressal mechanism and formation of it should be a part of the policy plan. The purpose behind the NRRC and that of having project level Grievance Redressal Committee should be understood as separate
l) The R&R Planning Committee as well as the NRRC, while differentiated in duties and mandate should form the basic implementation instruments as well as redressal mechanism, for any development project, to make sure exploring of maximum socio-economic options, minimum displacement and participatory economic progress.
m) Linkage with a temporal schedule between the project impact, displacement and rehabilitation should be such as to make rehabilitation a precondition to any impact-direct or indirect with a sufficient time gap.
n) If in any region (district or a ward) there is a substantial number of families affected by plan/project but not rehabilitated, there should be a declared moratorium on further displacement until all the affected people are fully and fairly rehabilitated.

It is thus imperative that the draft that was widely discussed and approved amongst the civil society groups, affected peoples organizations and presented before the National Advisory Council chaired by Smt. Sonia Gandhi, be the best reference to finalize the NATIONAL POLICY FOR DEVELOPMENT PLANNING, MINIMUM DISPLACEMENT AND JUST REHABILITATION, even today.

It is towards this end that we suggest the following as urgent steps:
1. One national as well as 5 regional consultations (north, north east, south, west and east India level) to be held within next two months
2. A final draft to be thoroughly discussed by a small group selected out of these consultations
3. Declaring one year as an experimental phase for executing/applying the policy, reviewing it at the end of the year and formulating an enactment on its basis within a year’s time

A CRITICAL ASSESSMENT OF
THE DRAFT NATIONAL REHABILITATION POLICY-2006

Specific Comments On the Provisions of NRP by People’s Movements

1. Preamble

(Refer to 1.1) There is no need to explicitly state and highlight the principle of eminent domain at the very outset. This colonial principle is being reviewed all over the world and is rejected in many countries, same needs to be done in our case.

Instead we may put it thus: “people living in communities with access to, and control over natural resources along with those rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India and various international human rights treaties and conventions that India has ratified”.

Plans and projects for public good involve acquisition of land and other private property and resources and also impacts upon people’s access to common property resources. This leads to displacement of people and among those most severely affected are adivasis, dalits, small and marginal farmers, children and women.

Displacement is caused by the main project, sub-units as well as project related works. The State must fulfill its statutory obligations and constitutional duty by ensuring and protecting the right to life and livelihood of all those displaced by the project and project related works.

Add: With the growth of projects and large scale activities in the name of development and public purpose, there is change, growth and acceleration of the scale and nature of displacement and other environmental, social and economic impacts which are being increasingly questioned and challenged. Taking cognizance of the same, the Government of India recognizes the need to minimize the incidence as well as the adverse impacts of this form of development and the displacement that follows.

(Refer to 1.2) Add: This calls for a careful assessment of the social and economic impact of displacement and a holistic effort aimed at improving the standard of living of the affected and displaced population, covering provisions of alternative source of livelihood and just and adequate rehabilitation of households, land and other resources, villages or communities with all public amenities and services along with rebuilding socio-cultural relationships and capacities.

(Refer to 1.3) There is a need for careful quantification, involving the communities whose resources form the capital for the project, as well as equity analysis of costs and benefits that will accrue to the affected population and the larger society, which will then determine the desirability and justifiability of each project.

(Add 1.5) The policy will be transferred into an enactment once it is finally accepted by all the stakeholders especially the affected people and their organisations. Towards the latter objective, there will be a national consultation and some regional consultations held before the first draft is finalized and another national consultation before one year of completion so as to review the experience and only then will the final policy would be declared. The draft policy would however be applicable during the first year of operation.

2. Objectives of the policy

Since the objectives spell out the various special concerns, these may also include:
• “To ensure that there is no forcible eviction/displacement and that relocation takes place only with prior informed consent and participation of the affected families and community.”
• The objective “to provide a better standard of living to displaced families…” should be “to provide a better standard of living compared to that before displacement by ensuring ‘resource for resource’ rehabilitation and an alternative source of livelihood along with a share in the project benefits” so as to avoid any false increase in the standard of living through distribution of cash compensation.
• At every point in the policy, reference should be to project affected persons / families/ communities and not project displaced persons alone. Family and community are to be treated as separate units and even those amongst them who may not be losing a house and hence not to be displaced but whose property or livelihood is affected, should be covered by the policy.

3. Definition

• “Affected zone” should mean area to be affected by a project and related works in terms of houses, farms, trees, forests, any property private or public and therein the definition need not be based on Government notification.
• Why is definition of “agricultural family” avoided? It should be taken as it is from NRP-2003.
• If marginal farmers are with holdings of less than 2 ½ acre, the policy should also consider the category of “small farmer”, defined and specially protected/ provided for. (Marginal farmer being one who holds upto 5 acres and Small farmer being one who holds upto 10 acres in the right kind of categorization.)
• Which category would a trader and various, professionals or other self employed fall in? It can’t be a part of labour, agriculture or non-agriculture / artisans. Separate and specific categorization is a must.

This policy with land acquisition as a part of it, should not equate acquisition of land by the Government for its own projects, with acquisition for (or on behalf of) any corporate body or other non-statutory agency/ies. This will mean the state is active as an agent transferring the resources of people to the private agencies for private interest and not public interest. Even if one presumes the private body brings in some benefits, when it earns profit it has to be dealt with differently through market mechanisms. Requiring body for application of this act has to be necessarily ‘the appropriate Government’.

4. Social Impact Assessment

(Refer 4.1) SIA should apply for any project displacing more than 100 families en masse in plain areas, and 25 or more families en masse in tribal or hilly areas and areas mentioned in schedule V and schedule VI of the Constitution of India.

The SIA should not be linked to EIA and should be submitted to a committee, maintained by a consortium of ministries including Ministry of Rural development, Ministry of Urban Development & Planning, Ministry of Social Justice, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Ministry of Labour as well as Ministry for Women and Child Development. This committee should also be authorized to monitor the SIA.

(Refer 4.2) SIA report should not be prepared by agencies accredited by the Government but by departments of social work, sociology, anthropology or political sciences of Indian universities or a deemed university, which is a Government aided or semi-government institution. This is a must in the case of public projects in order to prevent private profiteers/contractors and such other interests from exerting their influence leading to corruption.

(Refer 4.3) A multi-disciplinary expert group can’t be common for EIA and SIA nor can it look at SIA in relation with EIA. To begin with, SIA, should have an independent status although it will include displacement and other social impact on the families due to destruction or degradation of environment (such as impact on fish and fisheries, affecting fish workers).

Experts group must include experts from faculties of social work, sociology, anthropology, economics, political science, geography and archeology and atleast 1/3rd should be from non-governmental agencies and mass movements who have good experience of having worked with the project affected.

(Refer 4.4) Clearance on the basis of SIA should not be granted by the expert group but should be the prerogative of the National Resettlement and Rehabilitation Commission (refer comments on National Commission).

EIA also should be covered under this policy and detailed guidelines must be issued for this. The guidelines should include ways to link EIA and SIA

(Refer 4.5) Public hearing must take place in the affected area at the most convenient and affected place and it should be; before any process related to the project begins, based on a preliminary proposal that should be made public atleast three months before the hearing. After the SIA and EIA is ready, and made public, atleast two months before hearing, separate hearings to be held on SIA and EIA. Detailed guidelines for public hearings should be made public and sought comments, suggestions on!

(Refer 5.1) The criteria should be 100 families in plain areas and 25 in the hilly/ adivasi areas.

(Refer 5.3) He/She should be accountable first to the Resettlement & Rehabilitation Planning Committee and then to the state/ National Commission for R&R, depending on whether the project is state level or a national level. (Please see comment on the commission)

(Refer 5.4) The Administrator for R&R can‘t be the planner too. The agency should be in charge of implementation of a plan evolved by a ‘Resettlement & Rehabilitation Planning Committee’ which should be a multi-disciplinary body and with at least 50% of its members coming from the civil society with at least 1/3rd being the representatives of Project Affected Persons, belonging to various occupational and socio-economic classes including women amongst the affected (proportionate to their percentage among the affected population).

The monitoring of the resettlement and rehabilitation plan must be done by the R&R Planning Committee or the National R&R Commission.

The Administrator should not be paid her/his salary and work expenses by the project authority or acquiring body.

(Refer 5.5) The decision and action necessary to minimize displacement of persons and to identify non-displacing or least displacing alternatives can’t be left to the Administrator and the requiring body. That would submit the scope to the least possible within a project/plains framework and can’t bring in any options of different technology, scale and location with even demand options and not just the supply options.

(Refer 5.5 ii & iii) Consultations should not only be held with the affected persons but also with the communities, the Gram Sabhas and the Mohalla/Basti Sabhas. Similarly ensuring protection of the disadvantaged section should be done in conjunction with communities, gram sabhas and Mohalla/basti sabhas.

Why has this process been brought down to the level of affected persons instead of affected families as it was stated in NRP- 2003?

(Refer 5.5 v) Administrative task of budgeting also should not be left open to be based on consultation with any representatives of the affected families and the requiring body as there is no level playing field. It has to be a part of the Planning to be done by the R&R Planning Committee, with accountability.

All the other clauses should also be appropriately modified incorporating the role of such a committee at every stage.

6. Resettlement and Rehabilitation Plan

Land for any project as well as for Resettlement and Rehabilitation should be acquired under a Land Acquisition law/act (a new legislation, based on this policy), so as to make acquisition a part of a holistic process that will include project planning as well as rehabilitation.

Every survey and planning task should be carried out with full information, prior informed consent and participation of the Gram Sabhas (in rural areas) and Basti Sabhas (in urban areas), to be sought through Panchayats and through local social institutions. Finalizing the affected zone should also be done involving local self Governments from village to district level and Gram Sabhas/ Basti Sabhas.

(Refer 6.2) Every declaration/order/notification should be published in the affected zone for resettlement and rehabilitation as also in at least three main vernacular newspapers with widest circulation in the area. It should be put up on the notice boards of Gram Panchayats and all the nearest government establishments especially: Tehsildar’s, BDO’s, Dist. Supply Officers’ offices and government supply institutions (like ration shops, among others) in the locality.

(Refer 6.3) Before the survey, all project related information, every document whether at the preparatory/ draft stage or otherwise, should be provided/ furnished to each Gram Sabha / basti sabha. A survey team should be appointed with majority of members from the affected families and it must include women.

(Refer 6.4) Survey must be done with affected families as well as community (gram or basti) as units (respondents) with two separate research tools for both.

It is essential that community level survey is done first to understand the total resource base, vocational and economic practices, social institutions, amenities, traditions and culture, interrelationship to opinions on the project and visions of change regarding development as also views and choices pertaining to resettlement & rehabilitation.

(Refer 6.4 {i} to {iv}) Survey should be exhaustive, covering all demographic data as well as opinion poll of the families. Secondary data survey also should be done and a report prepared on that basis. It should cover details of monthly and annual income of each family. It should include families indirectly affected due to impact on their source of livelihood, even if not residing in the area (by finding ways to identify them through public appeal).

It should include those who are not affected but left behind in a no habitable condition (such as marooned area people in the case of the dam affected).

Families living on the common property resources including government waste land or forests but with no legal rights to house plots and land should also be covered under the policy.

In the case of the urban population, cut-off date for survey can be based on those who are in place on the date of the survey and in the case of the rural population, it can be one year prior to notification and the survey whichever is later. This can be for house details, ownership magnitude of private property status, occupation and resource base in possession.

For survey, 3 years prior to notification can’t be used as the cut-off date since in that case, the information coming in would be outdated.

For forestland cultivators too, the cut-off date should not be 1980 but one year prior to survey. (Since in any case the families that are to be displaced will have to be accommodated if we have to prevent further encroachment on or destruction of forest.)

It is indeed obnoxious to say that the survey must be completed within ninety days from the date of declaration. If the consent of the Gram Sabha / Basti Sabha is properly obtained and their participation enlisted, there is no reason why a survey should be delayed. However, there shouldn’t be such a time limit since the left out people (who are always identified at a later stage) would never be covered and there can be genuine reason (such as contour survey found to be wrong later, landless labourers not available due to migration for work etc.) for which it may have to be kept open.

(Refer 6.6): The period for raising objection or filing suggestions should be not less than 90 days since it’s found that 30-40 days are inadequate. There is neither mention of personal hearing (on receiving objections) nor about Gram Sabha/ Basti Sabha endorsement.

A personal hearing should be given to the individual/family raising objections or suggesting changes, by the survey team as suggested above and the administrator with the Rehabilitation Planning Committee should be the appellate authority.

(Refer 6.7): The Draft survey must be furnished to the Gram Sabha/ Basti Sabha and its consent, recommendations and suggestions for correction must be sought within a period of 30-60 days depending on the size of the Gram Sabha/ Basti Sabha.

(The principle to be followed is: there should be no eligible person and no entitlement left of record. No haste at that stage would save future delays.)

(Refer 6.8): Hearing & dialogue on “the Survey” - A special Gram Sabha must be called with the concerned officials of the revenue, forest departments, and projects authority etc. present. The consent too may be sought in this meeting, if they are given the authority to make most of the simple corrections.

(Refer 6.9 & 6.10): Identifying lands, planning relocations etc. should not be left to a single official, but must be the task of R&R Planning Committee.

(Refer 6.11): a) Government waste or other lands also should be considered only after settling of rights of all those who may be old cultivators/ residents on that land. Their claims should be considered based on the same criteria as those of the project affected for R & R Scheme, and they also should be treated as Project-affected and must be resettled.
b) Compulsory acquisition for resettlement, bringing in secondary displacement, should be totally rejected.

(Refer 6.12): This cannot/ shouldn’t happen without going through the same procedure as with the project affected people, with the people therein involved at every stage of the process. Otherwise, this policy would be completely unjust and would end up in clearing the project at the cost of others.

(Refer 6.13): Comment same as 6.11 (b)

Ensuring alternative livelihoods to the non-agriculturists should also be part of the plan and responsibility of the Administrator with the R&R Planning Committee.

(Refer 6.14): Such a vague direction on planning process and those who would plan is unacceptable. There must be:
a) A Resettlement & Rehabilitation Planning Committee with proper representation – as described at an earlier point
b) The draft plan prepared must be endorsed by Gram Sabha (in the case of presence of various groups/communities in the Gram Panchayat, each of the villages/communities in a GGP should be treated as separate Sabhas and separate Sabhas should be held with a compulsory attendance of 3/4th of the villagers/community members and with a prior notice of at least 15 days as against 7 days, since this is a special case).

In the case of urban areas, “Basti Sabha” for 1000 or less families should be recognised and its consent sought as a precondition.

(Refer 6.18): A major purpose behind the R&R plan is to present the nature and state of impact on the property, private and common- in possession of a family or community. This can come from household survey, community level survey and impact assessments (social, economic, environmental, etc) that take into consideration long term impacts and the people to be even indirectly affected (e.g. fisheries).
 The policy must take into account existence of the informal/unorganized sector dependents, whose livelihood sources will be affected by the resettlement. Their earning, education and future possibilities should be ensured
 Appropriate lands to ensure that new residential sites are closer (within 5 Km radius to the new place) to sources of livelihood
 Land to be allotted to individuals, groups, and to the community for resettlement must be cultivable and irrigable. If it’s for agriculture or/and if displacement is for irrigation project they should be provided irrigation free for all encumbrances
 Land for residential sites must be suitable for house construction
 The distance between the residential site and livelihood/ agricultural land should not be more that three kms. for the agriculturists and the urban poor (BPL)
 Distance between the residential sites and all other public services including ration shops, health centres and schools should not be more than two kilometers.

(Refer 6.19): The involvement of the state & central R&R planning committees in final approval of the plan is a must. It cannot be left to the state government or the central government (in the case of inter-state project) vaguely.

(Refer 6.21): What is called to be ‘a fast track exercise’ is one, which needs to be undertaken carefully, e.g. settling land rights and updating land records must be done carefully, following laws and special provisions under this R&R policy (which provide for certain entitlements for those who posses property/ livelihood without ownership). All such tasks should be precondition and preceding land acquisition and not be carried out simultaneously with land acquisition.

(Refer 6.21): The time schedule must be based on a well-defined temporal condition of linkage between acquisition, resettlement and impact of the project. “In no event should there be any impact of a project faced by any person/ family/ community unless all the entitlements under the policy related acts are granted and accepted by the affected”. This clear clause must be added to avoid violations.

The allotment of agricultural land should be done at least one year prior to occurrence of impact and making any other alternative livelihood available must happen at least 6 months before the impact to ensure the same is not ridden with any problem.

(Refer 6.19): Plan is not only to be made known locally and consent of concerned Gram Sabha/ Basti Sabha must be sought.

(Refer 6.21): Exercise of settling land rights may be on a fast track, but should be carefully carried out. Without compensation of the same (to be certified by the Gram Sabha/ Basti Sabha) no step towards land acquisition should be undertaken.

(Refer 6.22) ‘Ouster’? Even after the compensation award is declared that too well in advance, can there be “ouster” PAF’s? This is a term indicating the mentality of the planners! The term must be “ousted” from the policy.

Not just ‘full payments of compensation can provide adequate resettlement’, but full rehabilitation must precede any implementation of a project (on any part of any PAF’s property).

(Refer 6.23) Emergency provisions must be dropped. This section must be removed from the Act. In any case, the minimum period for acquisition is very minimal within the preview of the Act and that can attained without any special ‘emergency’ provision but after ensuring that PAF’s rights are not compromised with. Any ‘emergency provision’ is bound to be misused/abused.

(Refer 6.24) Unless it is clearly stated that land acquisition for one purpose cannot be transferred for another purpose (even if it is also another project purpose) the present problem cannot be solved (legal land acquired for agricultural university should not be used for any other project like SEZ – Special Economic Zone).

In any case section 54 under Land Acquisition Act, which allows land acquired for public purpose to be transferred to private companies, should be deleted. Consent of the oustees as well as certain conditionalities such as, the project be a mixed one with state equity share being about 50% and 80%, with beneficiaries belonging to the lower and middle class, may be put forth as prerequisites to transform any land to any owner other than the state. Eg. a public hospital project, if converted for a private school will serve the interest of different classes and will deprive the affected populace of any benefit. The complication can be avoided by deleting this section and keeping the option open, provided the project is for public purposes and not catering to commercial / private / industrial purpose alone.

(Refer 6.24) period of ten years for returning of land be too long in the case of small projects and in the long projects, this limit may lead to a haste and the project work without rehabilitation and compensation for the environmental impacts should not happen. We propose that the period should be based on project plan and may be fixed by R&R Planning Committee, incorporating Gram sabha/ Basti sabha into the process plan.

7. R & R Benefits for Affected Families

(Refer 7.1): Presuming that any process of development planning or project planning would be carried out in such a way as to ensure minimum displacement, we assert that a fair and just scheme wherein R&R benefits shall be attained by all the affected (PAF’s), whose any property is directly or indirectly affected to any extent.

(Refer 7.2) The benefit suggested here is largely agreeable, provided the house plots should be allotted in a rehabilitation village or a basti where there would be all basic civic amenities. For every 25 families displaced, a site/village/basti can and should be planned and the list of amenities can be announced as rights equal to the list of amenities in NWDTA (Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award) with some modification.

(Refer 7.3): It cannot be only cash compensation, its full rehabilitation with all entitlements. Else it is unacceptable.

(Refer 7.4): Land for land must be the basic and major priority without “if’s and but’s”. Eg. If land is not available, agricultural land cannot be taken over and farmers property should not be acquired. Any family loosing 25% or more land of his/her landholding should be entitled to land, the minimum being 2 hectares. One hectare is a non-viable unit in India and hence minimum 2 hectares.

In case of irrigation project, following principle of justice, land allotted should be of fertile nature. If land affected is above 2 hectors, ceiling should be the maximum limit. Land should be of a quality equivalent or higher than the one affected.

(Refer 7.5): Stamp duty as well as income tax payments should not be paid by the PAF’s. Land should be allotted at least one year before submergence or any kind of impact. This is a must and land should be adjacent to residential sites.

(Refer 7.7): Making land cultivable should be the responsibility of the project authority or must be covered under government scheme/s.

(Refer 7.8): Rs- 3000/ for cattle shed is too less. The amount to be related to size of land holding and the number of cattle owned by the individual.

(Refer 7.9): Shifting of house material should be the responsibility of the government project authority

(Refer 7.10): Rural artisans, traders and other self employed should get the minimum capital for restarting the business. This should be done, working out a full fledged scheme. The compensation as a grant for creating new business should be not less than equivalent to 2 year’s income from the occupation to be affected.

(Refer 7.11): The planning of alternatives livelihood should be worked out considering individuals/groups and should be done by the Rehabilitation Committee for which community consent should be sought.

(Refer 7.12.2 {a}): For rights to reservoir fishing, the fish workers need not have fishing rights prior to displacement but should be fishing in the river since atleast 5 years prior to displacement period. The fishing rights should be given to small organised groups or on a community basis or co-operative/s. Fishing rights must be granted to affected persons within the criteria.

(Refer 7.13): Subsistence allowance has to be atleast equivalent to wages for one year. This should not be in lieu of alternative livelihood. Those who would loose land and become small and marginal farmers must be supported to have a supplementary income generated.

(Refer 7.15): PAF’s would include all families affected due to a project and project related works (directly or indirectly as specified earlier).

(Refer 7.16): The area within 5 km radius from the rehabilitation site (from all sides) should be declared a project resettlement zone and the PAF’s will be given priority for access to the resources. This should be a newly created area, to avoid any clash of interest with those who live around the area originally.

(Refer 7.17): As per comment given earlier with respect to forest cultivators.

(Even linear acquisitions can cause serious impediments and the scale too need not be small, eg. Infrastructure development in large cities such as Mumbai affect 5000 and more families).

(Refer 7.18): All forest land cultivators from adivasi communities, residing in the area since generations must be considered as rightful/ equivalent to the landholders and should get alternative land in rehabilitation.

(Refer 7.18 {1}): Evolving a TDP will be meaningful/good.

(Refer 7.18 {2}): Every aspect related to Land Acquisition Act and role of Gram Sabhas etc should be followed, as stated before.

(Refer 7.18 {5}): No cash compensation should be given in lieu of livelihood loss unless impact is very minimum and not at all severe.

(Refer 7.18 {10}): SC/ST status must continue

(Refer 7.19): Infrastructure -

(Refer 7.19.1): The criteria should be same for all R & R sites and should be as close as possible to the original site and used as centres of change where there should be single clearance.

(Refer 7.19.3): A complete list of amenities should be provided in the resettlement plan in proportion to the number of project affected.

8. GRC and RRPC

(Refer 8.1): A detailed comment on Rehabilitation committee (suggesting it as R&R Planning Committee, separate from National R&R Commission) is given at a prior point.

(Refer 8.2): Grievance Redressal Cell

GRC’s composition should be within a frame work:
• 1/3rd of the members should be from the affected families
• Atleast 50% of the members should be non-official (representatives from civil society including academics, social workers, activists, sociology and anthropology students and so on)
• More than technical experts, they should be persons belonging to different social backgrounds
• Official member in-charge should be of the rank of a secretary
• GRC must give due respect and importance to Gram Sabha resolutions, else will be declared to be against law

(Refer 8.2.3): GRC must seek opinion of the agriculture experts and farmers. The official must give the decision within 15 days of the complaint reaching the GRC. The redressal must happen before impacts occur.

(Refer 8.3): Inter-state projects which are large scale (centralized) and conflict-ridden should be avoided if displacement is to be minimised.

In the exceptional cases, inter state body (tribunal or award) with representatives of affected and benefited, of peoples organisations and of governments in the concerned states should be the main agency.

(Refer 8.3.1 to 8.3.3): On behalf of the Central Government it can’t be Ministry of Rural Development alone. Eg. For Urban displacement/projects it has to be Minister of Urban Development, also. In general, the MoRD must form a consortium with other ministries such as Ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment, Ministry for Environment and Forests, Ministry of Finances, Ministry for Tribal Affairs, etc depending on the nature of the project and the social composition of the affected.

(Draft Critique for discussions, prepared by Medha Patkar with help and inputs from Malavika Vartak, Jibin, Simpreet Singh & Vijayan MJ).

(ANNEXURE-I)

National Alliance of People's Movements
National office: A wing, Haji Habib Building, Naigoan Cross Road,
Dadar (East) Mumbai- 400014
Phone: 022-24150529 E-mail: mumbainapm@gmail.com

Shri Raghuvansh Prasad Singh 31st October 2006
Hon’ble Minister for Rural Development,
Government of India, New Delhi

Subject: Response from People’s Movements and organisations to the Draft National Rehabilitation Policy

Dear Shri Ranguvansh Prasadji,

Thank you for extending the date for receiving our comments on the draft National Rehabilitation Policy 2006.

All the allies and friends in various peoples' organizations and movements strongly feel that the dissemination and consultation process and time period allotted for comments on such an important policy has been highly inadequate and hence there is an urgent need to hold a national consultation, which needs to be initiated by your ministry at the earliest, before going any further on the policy.

It is also our view that the draft approved by the National Advisory Council (NAC) in 2005 should be the basis for any further process of consultation and not the new draft circulated by MORD, as this has heavily depended on the NDA Government’s draft, which was rejected by the civil society and affected people at large. This would also save us from repeating the long process, which major networks and hundreds of organizations in the country have already gone through. Without this, a consensus on the serious issues of conflict related to development, displacement and rehabilitation is difficult to attain.

The scale and intensity of impact of displacement in the name of development; the unprecedented transfer of agricultural land and other resources; has reached a stage where a serious national debate has already emerged. Any process bringing out a new policy, must take into cognizance the new issues, the civil society's responses and inevitable conflicts and struggles of the people facing the inhuman impacts with no replacement of livelihoods.

Another aspect is that the policy titled ‘National Rehabilitation Policy’ is one exclusively for ‘Project Affected’ Rural areas and says nothing about the ongoing and massive urban displacement in India. Since the policy is coming from your ministry, this is understandable; however, since this has not been titled “Rural Rehabilitation Policy”, a comprehensive approach, with all aspects of displacement and rehabilitation is required.

Enclosed herewith are our comments and critique on the draft circulated by MORD through the Internet. We have done this inorder reiterate and bring to your kind attention the fact that the NAC 2005 draft, being much more people-friendly, should be used as the base for any future discourse on a National Policy. We request you to also disseminate the said policy draft in Hindi and atleast 5 other regional languages in the form of booklet immediately (at least one month prior to the proposed national consultations).

We assure you all support in this process if planned to be transparent, participatory and conclusive.

Regards,

MEDHA PATKAR
On Behalf of
National Alliance of Peoples' Movements

Endorsed by
• National Fishworkers’ Forum
• Narmada Bachao Andolan
• Samajwadi Janparishad
• Shoshit Jan Andolan - Maharashtra
• Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Vrithidarula Union ( AP Agricultural Worker’s Union)
• Pennurim Iyakkam, Tamilnadu
• Shahar Vikas Manch, Mumbai
• National Federation of Unorganised Sector Workers
• Sarva Seva Sangh
• Lokshakti Abhiyaan -Orissa
• NAPM- Uttar Pradesh
• NAPM –Delhi
• Jan Sangharsh Vahini,Delhi
• Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, Gujarat
• Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan, Rajasthan
• National Forum Of Forest People and Forest Workers
• Jharkhand Jungle Bachao Andolan, Jharkhand
• New Trade Union Initiative
• National Agriculture Workers Alliance
• Initiative, Mumbai
• Delhi Forum

CC to: Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, GoI