The term Land acquisition in the context of India refers to the process by which the government in India acquires private land for the purpose of industrialization, development of infrastructural facilities or urbanization of the private land, and provides compensation to the affected landowners and their rehabilitation and resettlement. The state has complete power to take property from the individual if the act of sovereign involves public interest. The existing doctrine empowers the government to acquire private lands for a public use. Whereas the concept of land, pooling stands in contrast with the land acquisition policy. The concept of land pooling policy involves purchasing of rural land by commercial developers at profitable market prices from the farmer and later pools their small rural land pieces forming large land piece. Out of the larger land obtained by land pooling the government keeps some percentage of land and provide it with infrastructure in a planned manner and return the reconstituted land to the owners, after deducting the cost of the provision of infrastructure and public spaces by the sale of some of the serviced land.
The land pooling policy is initiated by the municipal or the national Government delegating an area which is to be converted from agricultural to urban land use. A proper plan is then developed for the development of the particular area. Provision of infrastructure and services is financed by the sale of some of the plots within the area, often for commercial activities. The original landowners are provided plots within the reshaped area which, although the lands are now smaller in size but have access to all the basic infrastructure and necessary services. The land pooling policy has various advantages over land acquisition policy. It does not only provide an opportunity for a planned development of the land and infrastructure network but helps in avoiding the problem of the so-called “leapfrog” development, a development policy where different types of land uses and densities are mixed.
Land pooling is also called as land readjustment and is an attractive method to influence the location and development of new urban areas as it stands out to be profitable to all the stakeholders whereas under the land acquisition policy the poor rural landowners are likely to satisfy themselves with a very minimal amount provided by the government. Under the traditional land acquisition policy, it was becoming increasingly difficult to obtain public support for the use of rural land for infrastructural development. The Land pooling method, on the other hand, is widely supported and sometimes even initiated by the landowners since they would make a considerable profit on the project. Contrary to the obvious alternative methods for city development, land banking, and expropriation, it also avoids the costly and unpopular government procedure of acquiring land. Unlike the land acquisition, the land pooling will return a major part of the land to the landowner and turns out to be an Ideal partnership for development between the public sector and the landowners.