- The farmers have myriad problems, which basically stem from dependence of more than 65% of country’s population on agriculture, contributing only about 14% to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
- The major concerns regarding agriculture sector is high dependence on rain fall and vulnerabilities to natural calamities, insufficient irrigation facility, low proportion of irrigated Land, with minimum support price (MSP) not covering high input cost.
- It even includes dependence on market fluctuating market forces of demand and supply, poor quality of available seeds, poorly targeted fertilizers subsidy, lack of availability of cheap credit and national agriculture marketing network.
- Shri Shanta Kumar Committee has given recommendations on reforms in procurement policy and public distribution system, including food security.
- The primary objective is to reduce the dependence of more than 60 per cent of the country’s population on agriculture and increase its contribution to GDP.
- Another major concern is the existing Special Economic Zones (SEZ), where 40 percent of the area acquired in the country still remains unutilized.
- Land Acquisition Act’s main objective is the developmental requirement, giving adequate compensation, proper rehabilitation and resettlement, alternative employment generation for the land owners, monitoring system for implementation of regulation and dispensation of compensation and grievances redressal mechanism in case of disputes.
- Major stakeholders to the bill are farmers, landowners, project affected families, Government, developmental needs of the nation, industrialist and infrastructure developers and bureaucracy responsible for implementation.
- The most contentious issue with regard to the Bill is the Consent Clause.
Clarification on the Consent Clause (2013 Act):
- 13 Acts under Schedule Four of the Act through which most of the land acquisition takes place were also exempt from consent as well as SIA and the compensation under these acts was also payable according to 1894 old law.
- While removing SIA, the requirement of giving employment to landless laborers from the project-affected families has been made part of the main Act.
- All other compensation and rehabilitation packages remain intact and form part of schedules I, II & III of the new Bill.
- Though Government’s timing of 1st Ordinance can be questioned but the intention is not questionable.
- Government was “highly likely“ to accept one of the key clauses of the Act passed by UPA in 2013, which mandated that land acquired would revert to farmers if not used within five years.