Other States

“Need to reform lease laws for consolidating land holding”

The Niti Aayog on Monday advocated for reforms in land leasing laws so that the operational land holding could be consolidated to raise the level of prosperity of over 49 per cent of India’s workforce that is still dependent on agriculture.

“There is need of consolidation of holdings, this could happen if farmers take up non-farm jobs and would sell their pieces of land but they prefer not to do so since land is a source of security. Consolidation of the operational land holdings could happen through land leasing,” Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya said.

He was delivering his keynote lecture on the fifth convocation of the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Science and Technology here on Monday.

Leasing of land holding faced legal difficulties in the country as most of the States have either banned the land leasing or allow it under strict circumstances.

“Land leasing option faces legal difficulties as most States either ban tenancy or permit it strictly in certain circumstances and the owners are hesitant to take up non-farm jobs lest they lose the ownership to the tenants,” he said.

This was where economics must once again cooperate with technology and science as there was a need to reform the land leasing laws in the country.

“What we need is reforms in the land leasing laws to give legal status to tenancy. This would give greater sense of security to the owner who wants to lease out land and it will also give greater certainty of tenure to the tenant, above all it will open doors for the consolidation of the operational land holdings.

“We have a situation where farmer use to have more land holding which is small and scattered in different places but when land leasing becomes an option, consolidation would become easier through cross leasing arrangements,” he added.

Recognising these benefits, Niti Aayog recently provided a model land leasing Act which the States can adopt to frame law as per their needs, Mr Panagariya said.

He said there was a gradual transition of workforce from agriculture to industries and services taking place during the past few years.

“A large number of workforce will still remain dependent on agriculture in the years to come, therefore it is essential that we raise prosperity in agriculture as rapidly as possible,” he said.

He said the country is facing challenge to ensure that farmers have adequate income and they share equally in the rising prosperity of the nation.

Mr Panagariya said based on 2011-12 data, 49 per cent of India’s workforce is employed in agriculture but its share in the GDP is only 15 per cent.

“The rural economy is heavily dependent on agriculture, even non-agricultural rural population lives on relatively low income. It is no surprise that 80 per cent of our poor live in rural areas, our big challenge today is to raise income of this population”, he said.

He said there was a very limited scope of expending the area under cultivation, therefore the immediate remaining solution that comes to mind is to raise agricultural productivity to bring higher income to farmers.

“While this is undoubtedly an important part of the solution, movement reflections would tell us that this solution would fall short of delivering to farmers an equitable share of rising prosperity. In the best of times including during green revolution era, agriculture has grown less than 5 per cent per annum on a sustainable basis,” he said.

In contrast, in best of times the industries and services grow at double digit rates, therefore short of miracles even if agriculture grows at 5 per cent in the medium to long run, its share in the GDP is predicted to fall.

“There is no escape from the conclusion that equitable distribution will again require creating good jobs in the industries and services to which some landless rural workers and marginal farmers can migrate,” he said. - PTI



Will raise prosperity level of over 49 per cent of workforce still dependent on agriculture, says Niti Aayog chief




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