While the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013 (Land Acquisition Bill) is facing the heat in the Rajya Sabha, many states are looking to work their way around the central Act. These include Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. According to a report in The Economic Times, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) has now served a notice to the Rajasthan government for not weaving in special safeguards for Scheduled Tribes (STs). It argues that the state government has flouted Article 338A of the Constitution, which specifies that all matters relating to STs should be sent to the NCST and state commissions for vetting. Considering that land acquisition is a List-III, Entry 42 subject in the Concurrent List, any state law needs Presidential assent before it becomes law.
Therefore, it is unnecessary for each and every body to ensure that their approval is granted before it can become state law. At a time when the government is looking to get projects off the ground faster, it is imperative that land is available. Rather than create hurdles for land acquisition, the NCST should work towards ensuring that ST candidates get jobs in the units that are eventually set up. That would lead to quicker improvement in their financial status.