Social impact assessment of resettlement & rehabilitation policies and packages in India - Report of a research project by Centre for Social Development

This report is the outcome of a research project by the Centre for Social Development (CSD) for the Department of Land Resources (DoLR).

The National Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) policy, issued in 2007, recognizes the need to carry out Social Impact Assessment (SIA) as part of the resettlement planning and implementation processes. While an assessment of social impacts prior to the commencement of a new project or expansion of an existing is now obligatory under this new policy, the appropriate guidelines for the purpose do not yet exist. This handbook on conducting social impact assessments aims to fill this gap.

The main advantages of doing a systematic Social Impact Assessment (SIA) include the following -

  • Identifying Affected Groups: SIA helps in identifying people and groups who affect or are affected by the project
  • Allying Fears and Winning Trust: SIA can help allay fears of affected groups and build a basis of trust and cooperation which is so essential for successful project implementation
  • Avoiding Adverse Impacts: SIA provides the basis for preparing mitigation measures to avoid, reduce or manage adverse impacts
  • Enhancing Positive Impacts: SIA preparation also helps identify measures to maximize/share project benefits
  • Reducing Costs: Addressing social impacts at an early stage helps to avoid costly errors in future
  • Getting Approval Faster: A well prepared SIA demonstrates that social impacts are taken seriously and helps in getting project clearance faster

The handbook explains the basic concept of social impact assessment, the step-by-step process of conducting SIA, and the SIA methodology. In short, it aims to provide practical guidance on carrying out social impact assessment, as envisaged in the national R&R policy, 2007. There is going to be an increase in demand for a set of how-to-do guidelines on conducting social impact assessments, especially from Government resettlement planning and implementation agencies. This handbook has been prepared to meet this demand for project personnel, both planners and practitioners, involved in conducting R&R operations.

This handbook is organized into six chapters –

  • Chapter I is a brief introduction to the handbook.
  • Chapter II explains the meaning of social impact assessment and what SIA can do to help design projects that genuinely respond to the needs of the affected people.
  • Chapter III describes the methodology of data collection for purposes of impact assessment.
  • Chapter IV presents an overview of the principles for social impact assessment.
  • Chapter V outlines steps involved in carrying out social impact assessment.
  • Finally, Chapter VI provides guidance on preparing a SIA Report.

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