Social Impact Assessment: Theory and Practice

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectiveSHE2ED3262

To which offered: (I/ III/ V) III semester

Course Title: Social Impact Assessment: Theory and Practice

Credits: 2 Credits

Course Code (new): SHE2ED326

Type of Course: Elective yes Cohort MAED

Course Coordinator and Team:Prof. Asmita Kabra

Email of course coordinator: asmita[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in

Pre-requisites: None


Land is the basis for all productive activity, and as such, it lies at the crux of issues and debates on environment and development. Concerns of growth, distribution and sustainability are linked intimately with questions about land ownership, access and use. In the backdrop of the global surge in ‘land takings’ and involuntary displacement, traditional forms of access, tenure and control over land are continuously being reconfigured in the global South. In India, the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Act (RFCTLARR 2013) has made it mandatory for all development projects involving land takings, to be preceded by a Social Impact Assessment. There is a severe dearth of trained practitioners well-versed in the legal requirements of SIA and the larger institutional, social, political and economic context in which land-takings are embedded. This course aims to fill this gap through hands-on, practice-oriented training in SIA which can plug this gap and provide gainful employment opportunities to students.

Learning Objectives:

  • To understand the role of SIA in India’s new LARR 2013 law and the SIA rules of different Indian states
  • To understand the complexity of the country’s contemporary land tenure systems and its impact on SIA processes
  • To understand the multiple steps involved in conceptualizing and conducting an SIA in diverse situations of ‘land-taking’
  • To learn how to write an SIA report and prepare a Social Impact Mitigation Plan

Learning outcome: On successful completion of the coursework, students will be able to conceptualize, plan and implement the process of SIA with special reference to the urban context. As such, it is useful for those seeking careers as consultants, field practitioners, researchers, activists, or simply as engaged citizens.


S. No.

Module name


Contextualizing SIA in the backdrop of India’s new land wars


Understanding India’s complex land tenure systems


Estimating impacts of land loss and designing compensation and mitigation


Estimating impacts of livelihood losses and designing mitigation


Ensuring Fairness, Transparency and Participation


Preparing an SIA Report and Social Impact Mitigation Plan


Indicative Reading List

  • Burdge, Rabel J. (2003) The practice of social impact assessment background, Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 21:2, 84-88, DOI: 10.3152/147154603781766356
  • Kabra, Asmita (2016). “Assessing economic impacts of forced land acquisition and displacement: A qualitative rapid research framework”. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal Vol.34, Issue 1.DOI: 10.1080/14615517.2015.109603.
  • Esteves, A.M., D. Franks, and F. Vanclay. (2012). Social Impact Assessment: the state of the art, Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 30:1, 34—42, DOI: 10.1080/14615517.2012.660356
  • Mathur, H.M. (ed.) Assessing the Social Impact of Development Projects: Experience in India and other developing countries. Springer 2015.
  • World Bank. (2004). Involuntary Resettlement Sourcebook: Planning and Implementation in Development Projects. Washington DC: World Bank
  • Frank Vanclay and H.A. Becker. (2003). The International Handbook of Social Impact Assessment: Conceptual and Methodological Advances. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
  • Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Act, 2013
  • SIA Rules of the Government of India and various state governments

Note: Additional readings and case studies will be provided during course transaction for all modules of the course.

Assessment structure

  • In-class activities: 30 per cent
  • Independent project: 40 per cent
  • Jury presentation: 30 per cent

For the final jury, various members of the local community, as well as state functionaries associated with the State SIA Unit at SHE will be invited to grade the students’ final presentation in the light of the requirements of an actual SIA.