Prime Minister's Office pushes for Punjab land model

  • Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Sep 03, 2015 21:33 IST
A farmer working on the field under the shadow of dark clouds at Bathinda. (Photo by Sanjeev Kumar/HT Photo)

An amended Punjab law that allows long-term lease of farm land for projects may soon be replicated across India, with the Centre planning to use it as a model for alternative land management legislation after letting a controversial ordinance lapse.

Sources said the prime minister’s office had asked the Niti Aayog to draft a model land lease law in the next few months after consulting all states, indicating the government’s renewed bid to fast-track stalled industrial projects.

Once the model legislation is drafted by the department of land resources, it will have to clear the hurdle in Parliament, where a Congress-led Opposition forced a washout in the recently-ended monsoon session. The land acquisition ordinance has been dubbed as “anti-farmer” by opposition parties, who hold a majority in the Rajya Sabha.

The PMO asked the Niti Aayog to suggest a framework for the new law after Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the state’s land lease policy recently. Modi on Sunday announced the government wouldn’t re-promulgate the ordinance and let it lapse on Monday.

Panel vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya has met the revenue secretaries of all states on the proposed model law and officials said the secretaries were in favour of a national law.

“As land is a state subject, the Centre can only enact a model law,” an official explained, adding that the states agreed that the law would be a win-win situation and expressed interest.

Punjab amended its tenancy law in 2013, allowing farmers to lease out land up to 100 years and empowered sub-divisional magistrates to get the lease vacated in case of a dispute. See page 10

Centre pushes for land model

The companies can pay the entire cost upfront or in installments. There is also a revenuesharing model.

“The company pays a signing amount and then minimum money to the land owner every year for the lease period. If the company’s revenue is beyond a certain threshold, it is required to share its profit with the land owner,” a Punjab government official told HT.

States such as Gujarat, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh have land tenancy laws enacted soon after Independence but they are considered outdated for the productive use of barren land.

“Most of these laws are prohibitive in nature and therefore, needs a revamp,” an official said, adding the government wanted a uniform national framework on leasing of land to attract investors.

(Inputs from Gurpreet Singh Nibber)

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