Land use and agrarian reform policy must be completely overhauled: Book

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The current land use policy and acquisition process in India are major impediments to growth and development and sweeping reforms are the need of the hour, according to a book by entrepreneur RP Gupta.

”Most agricultural land is fragmented into small plots. The average land holding is perhaps less than 5 acres and such small holdings result in low productivity,” he writes in “Turn Around India.”

”The laws should be flexible for merging or exchanging land without any cost. Even land cap laws also need to be revised,” Gupta suggests.

”The land use policy and acquisition process in India are great impediments to the growth and development of the nation. Several large projects, whether private or public, are trapped for land acquisition,” he said.

”Forest and tribal lands do not allow for the productive use of mineral resources. The development of the tribal belt is stagnating due to restrictions on the private transfer of tribal lands,” he adds.

According to Gupta, India must address these issues through appropriate policies and regulations in the public interest.

”This will boost overall investment, especially in infrastructure, basic sector, minerals and energy and thus boost GDP growth and reduce the poverty rate. However, such reforms require strong political will at central and state levels,” he said.

Gupta also points out that we cannot afford to lose mineral wealth.

There should be a reverse restriction on the use of major mining lands for other purposes, as there is for coal, he says.

”We also need to amend the Forest Dwellers Act, which creates a barrier to entry into the development process. We can move forest, agriculture and people to other regions, but we cannot move mineral deposits. This is all the more relevant as most of the mineralized areas are in the forest zone and the mineral resources are valuable to the modern economy,” he argues.

Gupta also says that the restriction on the transfer of tribal lands in scheduled districts has created a big obstacle to the development of tribal districts.

The provisions of the Panchayats (Extension of Scheduled Areas) Act 1996 or PESA have not benefited the tribals, he believes.

”Such outdated laws have deprived the tribal people of the benefits of the economy and kept them in poverty. India must amend these laws and bring prosperity to the tribal belt,” he suggests.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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