The paper brings out the fundamental as well as the more important problems with the current framework of land acquisition in India, regulations on land and the functioning of land markets. It argues that reform is overdue and the current framework would be unsustainable in a democracy that is India. Current land prices are highly distorted owing largely to regulatory constraints and the process of takings. Land acquisition, more than any other factor, is the most important constraint on development and especially in infrastructure development. The paper brings out the core elements of the reform- the need to define “public purpose” ex-ante for compulsory acquisition of land, the measures that would allow the market price of land to play its correct role, and the approach to valuation. It argues for two additional things: (1) An independent valuer when compulsory taking is involved and methods of valuation to ensure that the land owner including the farmer gets the correct value for this land in both compulsory acquisition and voluntary, (2) The need for a parallel non-compulsory framework for acquisition and develop the key elements of the same. Moreover, the study suggests alternatives to physical acquisition of land especially in the context of infrastructure development in central places. 

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