A day after a group of ministers finalised the contentious land acquisition bill, the government has tasked itself with a much-litigious job unfinished for decades - land reform and redistribution of land among the landless.
A task force chaired by rural development minister Jairam Ramesh and co-chaired by tribal affairs minister KC Deo was constituted on Wednesday to work on the issues.
The creation of the task force was one of the decisions arrived at in an agreement signed last week between the government and Jan Satyagrah activists, who have been protesting for a National Land Reforms Policy.
Five years ago, UPA-I had promised a land reforms council headed by PM Manmohan Singh. The council, however, never met since it was constituted in January 2008.
Now, the 11-member task force will come up with a draft land reforms policy in six months. A final policy accompanied by a strategy will set terms for ceiling on surplus land and redistribution of surplus and government land among the landless poor.
Ramesh said the first meeting will be held on November 16. "We will get going on our task now," he said.
"The earlier council, with PM as head and a dozen CMs as members, proved an impractical proposition. We are hopeful the task force will address our aspirations, failing which we can re-launch the agitation from Agra where we stopped on assurance of the government," PV Rajagopal, leader of the agitation told HT.