India needs “Pro People” National Land and Agriculture Policy
Scrap Land Acquisition Amendment Bill! Constitute Commission for Land Use Policy!
Country needs National Land and Agriculture Policy!
March to Delhi on August 9-10
All India Peoples Front (AIPF) activists will stage dharna on August 9 at Jantar- Mantar and join Swaraj Abhiyaan`s ‘Jai Kisan’ Movement on August 10 to press for the demands of scrapping Land Acquisition Amendment Bill/Ordinance and formulation of comprehensive Land Use Policy.
Declaring it to be necessary for country`s development, Modi government has presented a Bill to amend Land Acquisition Act 2013. BJP`s claim that its Act would be better than 2013 Act is untrue. Whatever little interest of the peasantry was served by 2013 Act, that would also be reversed by the new Act. After the proposed amendment, peasant`s land would be grabbed without his consent and the interests of many others dependent on that patch of land would also be sacrificed. To assert that Amendment Bill/Ordinance is necessary for basic infrastructure like roads, electricity, mining, road etc., too, is not true. Because, for these purposes, already 13 Acts do exist. The solution to the crisis of small holding and unremunerative agriculture lies in cooperative farming and not in displacement of peasants from agriculture for the benefit of corporate farming and builders` real estate business. Today, the highest priority should be accorded to protect our food sovereignty and livelihood of the peasantry.
The realty is that governments and corporates are already in possession of enough land for industries and public institutions. Ministry of Railways recently informed to Loksabha that it has got 47.3 thousand hectare unused land. As per reports, military has got 23.7 thousand hectare unused land. Similarly, out of the land acquired in states for industries, around 51.2 thousand hectare land is lying unused. CAG report based on the study of 152 SEZs says that there is no resultant growth in jobs and a good chunk of the land acquired from peasants in the name of development has actually been grabbed by builders in collusion with the governments.
Report further says that 45635.63 hectare land was acquired for SEZs but only in 28488.49 hectares, projects could be started. Today, the need of the hour is formation of Commission for National Land Use Policy, so that everybody knows how much land is needed for industry, housing, hospitals, schools etc. So until Land Use Policy is formulated, complete moratorium must be declared on purchase of agricultural land by corporates and NRIs.
The development model of Manmohan and Modi can neither solve the problem of unemployment nor protect country`s sovereignty. So far as jobs are concerned, since the advent of new economic policies in 1991, there is no job creation in any sector except services. And unemployment has increased tremendously. Moreover, a serious threat to food security is growing in the country. Peasants have been deprived of genuine prices for their products. And there is not even payment for what they have sold to governments and mills. Share of Agriculture in budget is continuously declining. In 2015-16, out of total 17 lakh crore budget only 17 thousand crore was allocated for agriculture, while a handful of corporates was given tax concession of more than 5 lakh crore rupees.
Today, the need is to change the present development model and struggle for peasant- village based economic policy. Only through the path of agriculture based economy, the issues of jobs, prosperity of common man and national sovereignty can be addressed. In the first stage of struggle, from our villages to the national capital, let us powerfully raise the issues of withdrawal of Modi`s Land Acquisition Amendment Bill; enhancement in agricultural budge; in absence of proper remunerative prices as per Swaminathan Commission Report, provision of 15000 rupees per peasant family, social security for the landless, implementation of Forest Rights Act, ensuring the role of peasants in the regulation of market, promoting cooperative farming, stopping the loot of natural resources, formation of National Commission for comprehensive Land Use Policy.
We earnestly appeal to you to join the movement and make it a success.