India – Land Acquisition Act 2015

March 25, 2015

By Padmini Arhant

The fast paced land bill passed in Lok Sabha deserves better clarifications considering serious ramifications not only on farmers but also the nation at large. 

The agriculture land currently under farmers’ ownership whether individually or as cooperative is sought for industrialization and privatization.

In this context, the incentives such as the offer quadrupled in price and buy back option later not exceeding 20 per cent in addition to employment for one member of farmer’s family subject to government appointed administration approval are not necessarily beneficial to the seller.

Beginning with the purchase price based on underestimated land value even after the claim on quadrupled offer remaining below market determination would not be a surprise. 

Then the capped buy back option at 20% post sale on the land used for industrial or private projects more often with incomplete or stalled construction works may not be suitable for agriculture.

The employment opportunity to one member of farmer family pegged with bureaucratic process might not be an instant solution to livelihood especially in the absence of guaranteed outcome and fair compensation.

Industrialization of villages with factory setting would be extension of urban problems including congestion, environment pollution and contamination with industrial waste and hazardous disposals endangering surroundings with pervasive impact.

Instead modernizing agriculture sector with equipment, proper facilities, logistics, irrigation techniques, water reservoir in arid land and preventive measures in flood prone areas for crop protection could generate jobs for rural youth without them having to migrate to metropolis.

Improving seed quality, soil condition for growth and fertility besides various basic to advanced methods could enhance productivity and enable farmers to sustain losses in predictable and other times of the year.

The developments ranging from electricity, clean water, sewage systems to roads, health centers, schools and essential conveniences in rural parts of the country could be a major boost to agriculture standards nationwide.

On the national scene, the contentious land bill might be pushed forward riding on currency factor ignoring volatility that could make food import expensive for ordinary retail customers in the pre-existing inflationary period.

The presumption on strong rupee mitigating import costs despite fluctuating fuel prices pose challenges for exports contributing to widespread trade imbalance.

Again leading the country from self-sufficiency in food provisions to severe dependency on external sources via imports notwithstanding challenges in the increasingly fragile international supply chain and hidden constraints could potentially be a major risk in terms of national obligation to feed 1.2 billion population. 

Politics exploitation of this critical issue at hegemony behest with the ruling party defiance and the so-called opposition viz. Congress staging protest or movement pretending to favor farmers in the otherwise choreographed event along with political factions representing the states like Tamil Nadu complicity prioritize vested interests over farmers and public concern.

The statement in the airwaves during Prime Minister’s address on the matter appropriately applies to the source rather than the intended target.

“People who make laws in the air-conditioned rooms do not have a touch with the ground realities – Modi.”

Perhaps this explains the political status evident in the recent fire break out in Indian Parliament building due to electrical fault during AC maintenance at the premise.

The facts on government as well as industry slight to farmers plight contributing to tragic suicides among farming community is the reality regardless of political incumbency in the state and national domain.

Prudence would serve in national cause averting strategies with irreversible results.

Peace to all!

Thank you. 

Padmini Arhant







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