India holds the unique distinction of being both the world's largest constitutional democracy and also one of its fastest growing economies. Critical to the process of India's economic development is state acquisition of land for infrastructure, dams, industry and mining. Creating a legal framework that ensures equitable and efficient acquisition of land, through processes that are socially inclusive and politically feasible, has proved challenging. While the Indian Constitution guarantees property rights to all, it enshrines special protections for land rights of the Scheduled Tribes, vis-a-vis the state and other communities, in geographically demarcated tribal majority areas known as the "Scheduled Areas". This is because land is not only a source of tribal livelihoods, but it is also central to their community identity, history and culture. However, despite these special protections, the Scheduled Tribes remain one of the most vulnerable, most impoverished, and most displaced of all groups in India. Why is this so?
Land Rights in the Scheduled Areas
The CPR Land Rights Initiative Fourth Annual conference will feature the launch of its report on “The legal and political economy of land rights of Scheduled Tribes in the Scheduled Areas of India", which attempts some preliminary answers to these questions. Through a review of constitutional provisions, laws, and policies, governing the rights of the Scheduled Tribes and the administration of the 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 displacement of the Scheduled Tribes. The Report will also feature data on the current mapping of Scheduled areas, and the current distribution of dams, forests, and mining in the Scheduled areas. Two panels composed of distinguished speakers, including officials from the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes and the NITI Aayog, community representatives, and academics from various disciplinary backgrounds will comment on the Report findings.
Land Acquisition in India
Four years since the Right to Fair Compensation, and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (the "RFCTLARR") came into force, as central and state governments begin acquisitions under the law, courts are deluged with litigation under the retrospective operation provisions of the RFCTLARR Act. Building off our Report on "Land Acquisition in India: A Review of Supreme Court Cases from 1950 to 2016", the CPR Land Rights Initiative team will present findings on Supreme Court litigation under the RFCTLARR Act. A distinguished panel of government officials, lawyers, academics, and journalists, will comment on the recent developments in the implementation and interpretation of the RFCTLARR Act.
Mapping Land Laws in India
Conflicting laws cause legal disputes. Yet, the number and extent of land laws in India is anyone's guess, because there is no existing publicly available comprehensive database of land laws in India. The CPR Land Rights Initiative team has created a database of 556 laws for a representative sample of seven states, namely, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, and Telangana. Eminent representatives from the NITI Aayog, the Central Information Commission, and PRS Legislative Research will comment on the preliminary findings from the database.
Videos of previous conferences and events of the CPR Land Rights Initiative can be accessed here:
Proposed agenda for the Annual Conference may be accessed here.
Please register at this link.