The Land Acquisition Act Image: Getty ImagesThe Right to Food
The new act that came into force on January 1, 2014, sought to rectify the inequities of the British era law. The earlier law allowed the state to acquire vast swathes of land with little due process. The new law, which industry is clearly unhappy with, tilts the scale in favour of landowners. There are provisions made for annuity payouts as well as obtaining consent through proper procedure. In addition, landowners are entitled to 40 percent of the proceeds of excess land that is acquired and resold. This aims to end misuse by a section of companies, which would acquire land in excess of their requirements and then resell it for a huge profit.
After the National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme in UPA’s first term in government, this is probably the coalition’s signature legislation. It entitles beneficiaries to rice, wheat and coarse grains at a subsidised price of Rs 3, Rs 2 and Re 1, respectively. The law will cover 67 percent of India’s population. The poorest of poor households will continue to receive 25 kg of wheat and rice per month.The Companies Act
As Indian companies Globalise, the 1956 companies act needed urgent updates on several fronts. The maximum number of people who can now incorporate a company is 200, up from the earlier 50. This means companies can lean on more people to raise money. The new law mandates that a third of all directors must be independent and that there must be at least one woman director. It also provides for class action suits against companies.Image: Mukesh Gupta / Reuters
The Right to Education
Among the most important provisions of the Right to Education is the setting aside of 25 percent of seats in private schools for the poor; schools are reimbursed for these seats by the state government. The primary aim of this Act was to ensure universal quality primary education for children. The Act banned unrecognised schools, donations and capitations fees. It also states that no child can be held back in a class until the completion of elementary education.Image: Getty ImagesRecognising Transgenders
In April 2014, the supreme court officially recognised transgenders as a separate gender, and mandated that the government treat them as socially and economically backward. Marginalised and disadvantaged for long, transgenders can now gain admissions and jobs based on their categorisation as Other Backward Castes.
(This story appears in the 30 May, 2014 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)