New Delhi, February 22 : Several news papers have reported that NDA government is rethinking the Land Ordinance before the crucial Budget Session starting tomorrow. We would like to reiterate that “the Land Ordinance 2014 has to be withdrawn”. There is no question of any compromise on this issue. The Land Ordinance takes away safeguards offered to the farmers and project affected families by removing the key provisions of “consent” and “social impact assessment”.
The government is engaging in false propaganda that the new Land Ordinance is beneficial to farmers and is necessary for the creation of the rural infrastructure like supplying drinking water, electricity and building of the roads and houses for poor people. The evidence suggests otherwise though.
Time and again it has been reported that the Land Ordinance has been brought to provide boost to PM’s flagship programme “Make In India”. It has also been promulgated to remove supposedly billions of dollars investment stuck due to land related problems.
None of the State governments or Central government attempted at acquiring land using the 2013 Land Act even then the Land Ordinance was brought in based on false fears of delays and cumbersome nature of land acquisition raised.
2013 Act was a result of the consensus developed over a period of nearly 30 years then what has been the urgency to bring in an ordinance without consulting anyone?
The extension of the provisions of compensation to 13 other Acts is a good step but compensation was not the only issue at large number of land conflicts. The provisions of the consent and social impact assessment are the soul of the new Act, without that it goes back to 1894 Act.
Land Ordinance will seriously impact the food security of the country, since it will allow acquisition of the multi crop land at a fast pace.
Risk to Food Security
India’s total cultivable land at present is 179.9 million hectares which supports 17% of world’s human population. In 2011-12 Indian farmers produced 259.29 million tonnes of food grain still 925 million in the country are affected by hunger and malnutrition. We are the 2nd most malnourished country in the world. Government has projected that from its current share of 13% contribution to GDP it will be reduce to a meager 6% of GDP by 2030, are we going to provide jobs to so many of those ?
As per agriculture census 2010-11, 52% of India’s labour force is dependent on agriculture however, instead of encouragement, since 1995, 3 lakh farmers have committed suicide and 2,358 main worker cultivators quit agriculture daily [Main worker cultivator – Minimum 180 days a year farm work]. The number of main worker cultivators was rising till 1991. After that, between 1991 – 2001 it fell by 7.2 million and between 2001 – 2011 declined by 7.7 million
In 20 years, 15 million main worker cultivators have stopped farming. Add to it millions of marginal farmers. The cost of practising agriculture is rising, on an average monthly income of Rs 2115 per household a monthly expenditure of Rs 2700 is borne by Indian farmers, what is government doing for the agrarian crisis ?
The land ordinance is not about welfare of farmers but about serving corporate interests. NDA government has only been launching schemes for the corporates and private businesses but nothing of significance for farm sector and farmers.
24th February Dilli agitation to Intensify, Simultaenous Protests in Many Locations …
The agitation of the farmers organizations, people’s movements, trade unions and others on February 24th will only gain strength unless and until the Land Ordinance is repealed completely. 5000 strong foot march of Ekta Parishad will converge at Jantar Mantar on 24th February and will be joined by Shri Anna Hazare and many others.
24th February mahadharna is being organised by NAPM, All Indian Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP), Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Sabha, Narmada Bachao Andolan, Yuva Kranti, Campaign for Survival and Dignity, Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan, Jan Pahal, Kisan Sagharsh Samiti, Jan Sangharsh Samnvay Samiti, Delhi Solidarity Group, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, National Fishworkers Forum, Rashtriya Mazdoor Kisan Sangathan and many others groups. Simultaneous protests and demonstrations are being organised across the country in Patna, Lucknow, Ludhiana, and many other places.