REPORT: THE LEGAL REGIME AND POLITICAL ECONOMY OF LAND RIGHTS OF SCHEDULED TRIBES IN THE SCHEDULED AREAS OF INDIA
NAMITA WAHI, ANKIT BHATIA
Despite these special protections, Scheduled Tribes remain one of the most vulnerable, most impoverished, and most displaced of all groups in India. 47.1% of all STs in rural areas are below the poverty line as compared to 33.8% for the national average, whereas 28.8% of all STs in urban areas are below the poverty line as compared to 20.9% for the national average. Inspite of being the only group with constitutional protections for their land rights, 9.4 % of STs are landless compared to 7.4% for the national average. While STs constitute only 8.6% of the total population, it is estimated that they constitute 40% of all people who have been displaced during the period 1951 to 1990, some more than once, due to the construction of dams, mines, industrial development, and the creation of wildlife parks and sanctuaries. Therefore, it is clear that these groups have disproportionately borne the burden of economic development and have gained very little.. But, why is this so?
This report offers some preliminary answers to these questions. Through a review of constitutional provisions, laws, and policies, governing the rights of Scheduled Tribes and the administration of Scheduled Areas, and the financial and administrative structures that effectuate these protections, the Report delineates a conflicting regime of protective and displacing laws, as well as conflicting policy narratives underlying these laws which facilitate the displacement of Scheduled Tribes and their corresponding landlessness. The Report also contains extensive primary data on the current mapping of Scheduled areas, and the current distribution of dams, forests, and mining activity, in the Scheduled areas.
REPORT: LAND ACQUISITION IN INDIA: A REVIEW OF SUPREME COURT
CASES FROM 1950 TO 2016
NAMITA WAHI, ANKIT BHATIA, PALLAV SHUKLA, DHRUV GANDHI, SHUBHAM JAIN, UPASANA CHAUHAN
India faces serious challenges in creating development processes that generate economic growth while being socially inclusive, ecologically sustainable, politically feasible, and in accordance with the Rule of Law. Equitable and efficient acquisition of land by the state for economic development projects, including infrastructure and industry, lies at the heart of these challenges.
Simultaneously, securing constitutionally guaranteed land rights to the poorest and most vulnerable communities in India against the state and other dominant communities, has been considered crucial to their economic and social empowerment. Land is not only an important economic resource and source of livelihoods, it is also central to community identity, history and culture. Unsurprisingly then, throughout India, dispute over state acquisition of land that deprives people of their land rights spans various dimensions of economic, social, and political life.
How do we mitigate this conflict?
The CPR Land Rights Initiative report on ‘Land Acquisition in India: A Review of Supreme Court cases from 1950-2016’, offers some preliminary answers to this question. Not only is this report the first comprehensive country-wide study of land acquisition disputes since India's independence, but also for the first time ever analyses these disputes along various metrics, such as i) public purpose, ii) procedure for acquisition, iii) compensation, iv) invocation of the urgency clause, v) pendency of claims, and vi) tracks trends with respect to distribution of disputes across geography and time, and central and state laws.
The Report also analyses litigation under the newly enacted Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (LARR Act) for the three year period, 2014 to 2016.