NEW DEHI: In a major step towards liberalising land leasing in India, government could soon legalise leasing and allow it unrestricted to improve agricultural efficiency, after its repeated efforts to get the changes to the Land Acquisition Act, 2013 passed in Parliament failed.
Niti Aayog’s expert committee on land leasing under T Haque has outlined seven land leasing reforms that also include the removal of adverse possession clause in the land laws of various states and enabling tenants to avail short term credit and other services based on a simple lease agreement.
Besides, it vouches for giving flexibility to the land owner and tenant to decide upon the term of lease, the rent besides automatic resumption of land on the expiry of agreed lease period and simplifying the procedure for lease termination within the lease agreement period.
In a first national consultation on land leasing on Friday, the Aayog sought comments from experts, states, farmers association and civil societies following which the expert committee would finalise its recommendations, paving way for a model agriculture land leasing act for states to emulate.
NITI Aayog had in September last year set up an expert committee under the chairmanship of T Haque, former chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, to prepare a model agricultural land leasing act in consultation with states.
The committee consisted of experts from Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Assam and Meghalaya besides top officials from rural development ministry and NITI Aayog.
The expert committee is expected to submit its recommendations by March 7, 2016.
Aayog’s vice chairman Arvind Panagariya had in his blog in July urged states to liberalise their land use policy to facilitate industrialistion, a move that he said would be a win-win situation for landowners as well as tenants.
“In the context of the difficulties in land acquisition under the 2013 land acquisition law, states wishing to facilitate industrialisation can further benefit from liberal land leasing if they simultaneously liberalise the use of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes,” Panagariya had said.
Currently, conversion of agricultural land for non-agricultural use requires permission from the appropriate authority, which takes a long time. “State governments can address this barrier by either an amendment of the law to permit non-agricultural use or by the introduction of time-bound clearances of applications for the conversion of agricultural land use in the implementing regulations,” Panagariya had said.