‘Land acquisition is no doubt necessary for projects of public interest'
The Union government is in the process of building consensus on a comprehensive Bill for land acquisition to protect the interests of farmers and those whose livelihoods are dependent on the land being acquired.
In his 65th Independence Day address, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that his government was fully aware of the tensions caused in some parts of the country because of acquisition of land for industry, infrastructure and urbanisation.
Dr. Singh said that the government wanted to replace the 117-year-old land acquisition law by a new Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation law which was forward-looking and balanced, and had already prepared draft legislation and initiated steps to build consensus on it.
“Our farmers have been especially affected by such acquisition. Land acquisition is no doubt necessary for projects of public interest. But it should take place in a transparent and fair manner. The interests of should be fully protected. We will ensure that no injustice is done to anyone in the process of land acquisition.”
Lauding the achievements of farmers, Dr. Singh said that the production of food grains had been at a record level. “We need a second Green Revolution in agriculture. We can tackle the problem of rising food prices only by increasing agricultural production and productivity. We also need to increase agricultural production to implement a food security law. We will accelerate our efforts in this direction in the 12th Plan.”
The Prime Minister said that the government would continue to take care of their special needs and ensure that farmers have easy access to fertilizers, seeds and credit. The intention is to provide the best possible irrigation facilities to the farmers so that their dependence on rains is reduced.
Dr. Singh said his government was satisfied with achievements in the last seven years in the areas of education and health.
He talked about fundamental changes in the area of education, and said the government was now considering universalisation of secondary education.
“Vocational education and skill development have acquired a new importance. In view of these major changes, it is necessary that we consider all aspects of education in a comprehensive manner. Therefore, we have decided to appoint an education commission to make recommendations for improvements at all levels of education.”