A National Consultation on the proposed Land Bill is being organised by SRUTI, on 30th August 2012, at the Constitution Club. The invite and schedule is given below. We do hope you will be able to join us.
National Consultation on “Proposed Land Bill: Development or Investment?”
10am – 7pm | 30 August 2012 | Constitution Club-Deputy Speaker Hall | Rafi Marg | New Delhi
Land is not just an economic resource, but essentially a social resource that secures the lives and livelihood of millions of people in India. Struggles over land and other natural resources are running rife across the country. Communities vs Corporates, Tribals vs Migrants, People vs State, Agriculture vs Industry, Empowered vs Marginalized – the inequities are growing each day, and the polarizations getting dangerous for the democracy. Large tracts of land (private, government, forest, revenue, community) continue to be acquired and diverted forcibly in the name of public purpose. In most cases, while the ‘public purpose’ is still to be ascertained, thousands lose their land, resources, livelihood and dignity.
Relevant, just development; sustainable, people-sensitive growth opportunities; and a socio-economically robust country – are not contested aspirations. Complex as it may be to envision and implement, ‘development’ that sustains the people, yet boosts the country’s economy needs to be a common, consultative, collaborative agenda in a truly democratic and free country. However the realities play out differently from Niyamgiri to Nandigram, Kudankulam to Kokrajhar. Land is contested terrain. Any legislation that seeks to address, update and ratify Land Acquisition processes afresh – needs to be rooted in clarity and justice for all.
The principle of ‘eminent domain’ which gives the State exclusive rights over land, and its use, needs to be reviewed and recast. Every individual, family and community, whether in rural or urban India, should have equal control over decisions regarding the use and stakes in the natural resources under their ownership. This needs to be recognized, respected and factored into any legislation that is crafted.
Seeking to redraft and replace India’s Land Acquisition Act, 1894, the new amended bill has been rechristened as “The Right to Fair Compensation, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Transparency in Land Acquisition Bill” – which attempts to “ensure a humane, participatory, informed consultative and transparent process for land acquisition”. Post the subsequent submission of the recommendations on the Bill by the PSC (after receiving suggestions/critiques from different stakeholders) to the MoRD; while some of the points have been accommodated, it still becomes necessary to reflect and review the overall response and tightening of clauses, by the Ministry. It also needs to be discussed how the Bill is being determined and driven primarily by the MoRD, when the declared approach to the legislation is that it needs to be “Investor-Friendly”. Should not the domain of the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) be the strengthening of growth and opportunity in rural India, rather than the facilitation of its take-over?
Several concerns are being raised and need to be urgently acknowledged and addressed: these range from the determination of ‘public interest’ and ‘public purpose’; to enabling of acquisition of land for private companies and oligarchic forces; the transfer of finite, valuable resources to profiteering bodies; the disregarding of the right to refuse; the concern for livelihood security, land for land and genuinely fair (commercial) compensation to owners; the position of the affected landless; to the concern for food security & sovereignty and the commoditization of essential natural resources…
At this crucial juncture, it is important for common people, civil society, policy makers, business and political leaders to take stock of the situation and collectively assess, analyze and interpret the present challenges and conundrums. There is a need to restore democratic control over land and its use, pay due attention to the needs of the landless population, secure the commons, restrict the principle of eminent domain and regulate ad-hoc acquisitions for private players whilst acknowledging that the country needs to build and sustain a robust and self-reliant economic growth curve. It is important to debate this at the national, state and local level by creating spaces and forums for people to express their views/stands/needs and genuinely assess and access the ‘balance’ which the Bill proposes to bring. It is time to think creatively and collaboratively, to ensure that the safety and dignity of all human lives, the balance in nature, and fair, relevant socio-economic opportunities are seen as a common and non-negotiable premise to any legislation that is brought about.
In an effort to share past and ongoing experiences on the ground; analyze and interpret the possible scope and implications of the Land Bill as it is proposed; and constructively move forward, SRUTI invites you to a day’s consultation on the “Proposed Land Bill: Development or Investment?” on Thursday, 30th August 2012 at the Constitution Club, Deputy Speaker Hall, Rafi Marg, New Delhi. Please find below the schedule.
“Proposed Land Bill: Development or Investment?”
Date: Thursday, 30 August 2012
Venue: Deputy Speaker Hall, Constitution Club, Rafi Marg, New Delhi
Welcome note and Key Points from previous day’s meeting – SRUTI Team
Commoditization of Resources
Speakers: Ulka Mahajan (Sarvahara Jan Andolan, Maharashtra), KB Saxena (Council for Social Development), Anand Mishra (Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan), Kavita Krishnan (CPI-ML), MJ Vijayan (Programme for Social Action)
Facilitator: Alok Shukla (Jan Abhivyakti, Chhattisgarh)
12.10pm – 2.10pm
Agriculture: Livelihood, Control over Resources, Food Security & Food Sovereignty
Speakers: Atul Anjan (AIKS-CPI)/ Vijoo Krishnan (AIKS-CPM)*, Lingaraj (Samajwadi Jan Parishad), Devendra (Hum Kisan Sangathan, Rajasthan), Jayashree (Adharshila, Madhya Pradesh)
Facilitator: Prafulla Mishra (Adima Adibashi Mukti Manch, Odisha)
2.40pm – 4.10pm
Speakers: Dileep Singh Bhuria (Ex-Central Minister & Chairman Bhuria Committee), Ashok Chowdhury (NFFPFW), Arvind Anjum (Visthapit Mukti Vahini, Jharkhand), Jang Sai (Bharat Jan Andolan, Chhattisgarh), Usha Ramanathan (Independent Law Researcher)
Facilitator: Shubhranshu Choudhary (CGNet Swara)
4.20pm – 5.50pm
Speakers: Anil Chaudhary (PEACE), D.P.Tripathi (NCP), A.V.Swamy (Independent – Member of Rajya Sabha), Shankar Gopalakrishnan/ Bijoy Panda (CSD)*
Facilitator: Amulya Nayak (Adivasi Chetna Sangathan, Odisha)
Open Session & Way Ahead discussions
Experience sharing; Ground level advocacy; Media & Legal aspects; Participatory Democracy; Citizen outreach – rural & urban, etc.
*To be confirmed
The time duration of the sessions may be adjusted slightly to accommodate expected Guest Speakers.
Expected Guest Speakers:
Basudeb Acharya (CPM), P.L.Punia (INC) Chairman-National Commission for Scheduled Castes, P.Rajeeve (CPM), Mohan Singh (SP), Hira Singh Markam (CBA)
For more details, please contact: Manisha 9899568195, Satyam 9810423296, Shweta 9911528696