Land Reforms Act of Karnataka
What are the recent amendments made to the Land Reforms Act of Karnataka? Discuss its impact on agriculture and industrial sector.
Introduction: (upto 30 words) Start with the objective of amending the Act.
Body: (upto 100 words) Write about the changes/amendments made to the Act and the need for such changes.
Conclusion: (upto 30 words) Conclude with its impact on agriculture and industrial sector.
What has the government proposed?
The proposal is to repeal Sections 79A, B, C and 80 of the Act with retrospective effect, and amending Section 63.
What do these sections say?
Section 79A says no person (or a family) that has an assured annual income of at least Rs 25 lakh whose source is non-agricultural land can acquire farmland.
Section 79B says that only a person cultivating land personally can hold agricultural land. Other exceptions to holding farmlands are educational, religious or charitable institutions, societies or trusts, companies, associations and cooperative societies
Section 79C deals with penalty for falsely claiming eligibility to hold agricultural land.
Section 80 bars agricultural land from being transferred to a non-agriculturist, an agriculturist who already owns or has a tenancy of land as per the ceiling or someone who is not an agricultural labourer.
Section 63 (a) imposes a ceiling of 10 units for a five-member family. This ceiling will be removed to enable a family to possess 20 units for a five- member family. The ceiling will be increased from 20 units to 40 units for a family having more than five members.
What happens if the Act is changed as proposed?
If Sections 79A, B, C and 80 are repealed, then anyone, even non-agriculturists, can purchase and own farmland. Amending Section 63 will mean agricultural landholding will go up from 10 units to 20 units for an individual without family or a family up to four people and from 20 units to 40 units for a family of more than five.
This is being seen as a major land reform that will throw open agricultural lands for purchases in Karnataka, which currently has restrictions on this front. Many states have done away with such restrictions.
Why is the government doing this?
- Section 79A bars those with an annual income exceeding Rs 25 lakh from acquiring farmland even if they are basically agriculturists. Section 79B says non-agriculturists cannot hold farmland. Because of these clauses, the government says, large parcels of land cannot be brought under cultivation.
- If these prohibitions are removed, then people who are not agriculturists but are interested in agriculture can purchase farmland.
- The government believes it will enable youths to practice modern agricultural techniques.
- If the ceiling limit is enhanced, then more people will be interested in purchasing farmland and hence, the value of land will increase naturally.
- Non-agriculturists have managed to purchase farmland over the years by subverting the law. Totally, 12,231 cases on 24,553 acres are still pending adjudication for violating sections 79A and B. So by retrospectively repealing these sections, the government will close all cases pending adjudication.
- This is against the rights of farmers, especially those with smaller landholdings.
- Move will lead to the creation of land banks which, in turn, will give rise to the land mafia. Ultimately, the move will benefit capitalists.
- Farmers have always been considered a vulnerable group and as such, they have been provided with various safeguards to protect their interests. Measures such as levying of custom duties on the import of agricultural produce, fixing of Minimum Support Prices (MSP) and restrictions on buying of agricultural land by non-agriculturalists have afforded farmers with protection from market forces. The proposed amendments seek to take away some of these protections enjoyed by farmers.
- Increase Urban migration. The rural population may see a rise in the number of landless labourers. The employment opportunities for landless labourers are already scarce as agricultural jobs are seasonal in nature. These labourers will endup migrating to cities in search of more stable jobs.