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Land Acquisition bill - reality check

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There are big discussions on blocking the land ordinance bill..ppl who were for it are going against it etc..here is what BJP is saying about it now

more here

So is BJP correct in what they are doing?

Lets take a scanario, Praja had met a railway official about the Tumkur-Davanagere new railway line that was planned. The official said they do not have the necessary land to lay the line as the 'farmers' around Tumkur are demanding exhorbitant money for their land. So the effect of this is we do not have the all important line completed.

So about the 'famers' mentioned, they are mostly land grabbers and opportunists who want to cash in on the announced project. They have fradulantly increased the land price around that area and waiting for the compensation.

How do we deal with this and also protect the genuine interest of farmers?

 

Comments

murali772's picture

Defying global logic

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Whether we are ready to finally accept that, though much can be done to improve farming, it is simply unsustainable for the sector to continue to provide livelihoods to 60% of our population. And whether our farmers’ children can have realistic alternate career opportunities or are destined to be trapped in ever more fragmented, marginal farming. And finally, whether we as a nation at all believe that it is possible to create millions of jobs in manufacturing and services. - - - Once again, the studies, procedures and clearances mandated by the 2013 Act go far beyond what either the US or China follow, requiring a minimum of 50 months for projects to get the go ahead. And that assumes every stage of a complicated series of steps would work like clockwork, without any delays or extensions. Anyone who understands anything about the viability of infrastructure projects knows this is a sure-fire way to make them unviable. - - - - Such provisions may be ideal from the perspective of a certain kind of philosophy, against industrialisation and the post-industrial economy per se, but can hardly be expected to cater to the million plus jobs that India now needs to create every month. As some countries have learnt at great cost — for instance, Greece on the issue of fiscal discipline — we can defy global logic only at our own peril. - - - - - Instead of looking in the rear view mirror at what has not worked in the past, we would be better served to benchmark what works in most of the world. It is incumbent on government now to ensure that compensation is unclogged and front-ended, that infrastructure is expedited and new jobs made visible, that education is reformed to promote employability. If we don’t, counterintuitive as this may sound, some of the worst affected will be India’s farmers.
 
The above are the excerpts from a blog by Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, BJD Lok Sabha MP, in the ToI (for the full text, click here).
 
Quite as he has stated, we can defy global logic only at our peril.
 
Muralidhar Rao
kbsyed61's picture

It is outright lie about SWR's defense of delay in project!

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Sri,

We know how truthful and sincere SWR is about the projects in Karnataka. The new land law was only passed in 2013/14 and hardly there was any project that got effected by it. SWR is lying outright about delay due to the new land law. The said project is being delayed much before the new land law was passed.

As far as Industry goes, lets not venerate them more than they deserve. Their sincerity towards nation can be gauge from the fact that the big business chambers had lobbied with present and past governments to delay the strict enforcement on tobacco. They had written letters to govt to not to go ahead with 80% marking on the cigarette packs.

If the industry is committed, they will pay the fair value to the land owners and put up their industry/business. Many do it and many would like govt to get them cheap. If game is played fair and just, they don't need the covering of land acquisition law. If everything should be per market rate, why not the land at market value without forcible acquisition?

murali772's picture

the governments' stake

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@ Syed - referring the third para of your post - When TATA Nano was bundled out of Singur by the Mamta government, after having been promoted by the earlier Marxist government, Karnataka was amongst the many states inviting them over with concessional acreages of land. W Bengal's Marxist government, as much as Karnataka's mix & match government, as also Gujarat's BJP government, all wanted them in their respective states, keeping in view economic and employment growth the project would generate. Even now, we are witness to the tussle between Karnataka and Chandrababu Naidu's Seemandhra over the setting up of Hero/ Honda plant in their respective states, offering all kinds of incentives, including land at concessional rates. As such, more than the industry seeking favours, it's largely the governments that are after them.
 
Besides, if industry seeks land from government, far more than the cost factor, it is because of the uncertainties involved due to the plethora of varied and confusing land transfer rules prevailing across the country. If land transfer could happen like buying any commodity, yes, market forces could prevail, and the government need not be in the picture. 
 
Muralidhar Rao
srinidhi's picture

its not just the compensation..

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good read in rediff:

Farmers are inextricably tied to the land. It defines their existence.

Deprived of it, they have little else to fall back on for their livelihood. When they part with land, they lose their identity and standing in the society.

more here

Even transfer of funds is botched up..hopefully schemes like jan dhan, where money is directly deposited to accounts of farmers will help!

MaheshK's picture

It's a farce

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What BJP is saying is a complete farce. They are showing dream world. If educated are believing this, there is some serious problem in the thinking. The govt knows that most farmers are gullible. Here is my question. Why the fertile lands? Why not those dry / arid lands that is there vacant? If you start taking away the fertile lands, are we going to import food?  It will be another big scam to make money by imports. SWR is just tiny / small example. It’s not the farmers, it’s the dalals and netas who will be deciding.

murali772's picture

Land and Landless Economic Regeneration Bill

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Economist Bibek Debroy points out that one of the reasons for visible stress among farming communities at the very thought of losing land is that we have not provided their young with skill-sets that would make them productively employable in any other sector. Rural India is still substantially bereft of basics. There is shortage of decent housing, toilets, electricity, water, education and of course jobs.In the meantime, we have provided the young an eye-view of a flickering television screen in a teashop, but no means to buy a set. Minimal aspiration is being swamped by stagnation.
 
If India does not create a break-out economy buoyed by jobs, we are heading towards violence of the kind we last saw in 1960s, this time with guns rather than axes and arrows. No political party , in power or opposition, will escape this wrath if, God forbid, it becomes the only means through which the poor can send their message. - - -  If, as is increasingly evident, existing agricultural land cannot meet the needs and dreams of those who possess it, how is it going to feed and clothe those without it? Jobs are their only rational option.
 
Deny them this legitimate hope, and brace yourself for consequences. After them, not the deluge; but prairie fires.
 
For the full text of the column by M J Akbar, click here.
 
While all of the above makes sense, the questions that have not been answered, to my mind, are:
 
1) What is happening to the large chunks of land acquired earlier, and not put to proper use?
2) Is there data available on the compensation paid for lands acquired so far, and timeliness of the payments? If there are short-comings in the same (as there are bound to be), how are they proposed to be corrected now?
 
Small and marginal farmers have generally realised that there isn't much of a future in farming, more specifically for their children, and wouldn't mind the idea of switching to some other vocation. As such, if satisfactory answers are available, more specifically to the point listed at 2, above, I expect they will be ready to move on. 
 
Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

sad plight of small & marginal farmers

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The agrarian crisis is skewed. While big landholders are thriving, small and marginal holders -who make up 75% of all agriculturists -are losing money on farming.
 
For the full text of the column by Mr Subodh Varma in the ToI, click here.
 
In my post of 7th April (above), I had talked about the plight of small and marginal farmers. This essay elaborates on it, more tellingly.
 
Many of them may be better off selling out their small holdings, and switching to some other means of livelihood. Alternatively, the co-operative movement has to catch on.

 
Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Food for thought

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With half of our population involved in farming, why can’t we provide for the kitchens of the entire world? Why do we see our farmers as bonded labour, locked into producing only for India? Why, for instance, do we hate agricultural MNCs so much that we don’t let them get near our farmers? Why do we allow Indian middlemen and corrupt officials to suffocate the farmer, but feel a global corporation will be their worst enemy?
 
We want people to make in India, but we don’t even have a decent land bill to allow them to acquire land to set up a plant. We also don’t have the infrastructure to allow for efficient and world-class manufacturing. Our regulations, laws and tax rules are too complicated to lure global manufacturers to come here in droves.
 
What we do have ready are hundreds of millions of farmers, who are ready to grow food for a modest cost and some income stability. The world needs food. We have the farmers. Can’t we use this to create a Bake in India revolution?
 
We have to admit that somewhere, the government has failed miserably in fixing farmers’ woes. No amount of subsidy or welfare will solve the structural problems facing the sector. When the government has failed isn’t it time to give private players, particularly large global private players a shot at Indian farms? Why do we have this perception of the evil big corporation, when we ourselves are killing our farmers? Won’t it be much better if a large corporate with deep pockets collaborates with our farmers?
 
For the full text of the column by Chetan Bhagat in the ToI, click here
 
Apparently, not many have thought along these lines. The fear agian will be that the Corporates will hijack the whole development agenda, take things to the extremes, and in turn harm the environment too. But, don't we have enough confidence in our democratic processes to keep a check on that? Either way, can things be worse than they currently are? Food for thought, alright. 
 
Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

inevitable, in a way

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Halligudi farmers in Gadag district, who had opposed establishment of South Korean steel plant Posco in 2011, have done a U-turn. They now want to give up their lands for any big industry.

Out of 500 farmers in the village, over 400 have approached the government and business agencies like industry and commerce department, mines department, Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board and Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Bengaluru, expressing their willingness to give land for any major industry that can create job opportunities for youths.

Maheshgouda Goudar, who is leading the farmers' fraternity, said farmers have changed their mind after seeing crop losses and suicides of farmers in the state.

For the full text of the report in the ToI, click here.

This part of Karnataka, if I understand correctly, is largely drought-prone, and consequently, not the best of farming land. On the other hand, it is rich in mineral wealth, particularly iron ore. Apparently, the farmers there are now beginning to believe that they and their children will be better off with the economic activities that will result from the setting up of the steel mill.

Perhaps, inevitable, in a way. And, now that one set of farmers has taken the lead, perhaps you can expect more to follow.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

The obvious and logical way out

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Given the political impasse over land acquisition, a way out would be to allow state governments to formulate their own legislations on the subject. Reportedly, this was suggested at the Niti Aayog meet as a middle path. Such leeway would allow those states that craft the best land acquisition laws to surge ahead, putting pressure on others to follow suit. Having states compete against each other for attracting industry – while also taking care of the interests of farmers – is a good approach towards fostering development, achieving synergy between agriculture and industry, and upholding the spirit of cooperative federalism.

For the full text of the editorial piece in the ToI, click here.

This had been suggested by somebody earlier too, and I had thought it was the most obvious and logical way out. And, now with many of the other measures for invigorating the business environment put in place, for all you know, you'll see the states, currently opposing the bill, making u-turns and competing with each other to facilitate land acquisition.

The parliament can now move on to the GST bill, passing of which should not be too difficult.

Muralidhar Rao


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