Live Markets »News & Advice»Latest Stories»Latest Stories Details
Latest Stories Details
Back

Devangshu Datta: Leave 'em alone with their land

Devangshu Datta/New Delhi 27 Mar 10 | 12:23 AM

 

The Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) gathers mountains of data to track income distribution. A shortcut: buy something in the Rs 30-50 range (soap, toothpaste) at a kirana store and hand over a high-denomination note. In South Delhi where I live, the shops change Rs 500 without blinking.

Related Stories

    No Related Stories Found

The nominal rental yields in my apartment complex are roughly 3-4 per cent. If the land was redeveloped for commercial use, it would generate more revenue. Land value would also rise. It, therefore, makes sense for the government to seize my complex, reclassify it from residential to commercial and redevelop.

This is not flat-out impossible, though very unlikely. Despite flat-owners holding clear titles, the Right to Property ceased to be a Fundamental Right in 1978. Under the Land Acquisition Act (LAA), 1894, land can be acquired for any public purpose and surely, bolstering public finances is a public purpose.

Under LAA, compensation is paid. That compensation is assessed by the acquiring agency. It explicitly precludes considering "any increase in the land value likely to accrue from the use to which it will be put when acquired". This translates into instant profits. Post-seizure, compensation may be paid at the former residential or agricultural rates, while the land is resold (or leased) at commercial rates.

My neighbours and I would all scream very loudly if we were served LAA notices. Being white-collar folks, we wouldn't need to get violent. We could ensure strong public scrutiny and seek to legally stay the process. If somebody tried to scare us into vacating possession, the local police would register FIRs on our behalf.

In the villages of Lalgarh and Jhargram, where the lalajis struggle to change Rs 100, the LAA profit margins are higher. Land cleared for commercial use is worth several multiples of agricultural land. The windfall multiplier comes from a stroke of the pen. Also, fewer people qualify for compensation. Titles are unclear, and in the tribal belts, individual ownership is rare. By default, most "tribal land" belongs to the state, even if it has been used for millennia by local tribes.

The dispossessed land-users (who have no legal claims) have no legal recourse. Governance, which is no great shakes in Delhi, is an alien construct in such places. They face extreme violence if they don't vacate. So, faced with zero recourse and zero compensation, they pick up guns.

The imperial legal framework has created a massive opportunity for wealth generation. The downside is that, coupled with poor local governance, it has also helped trigger Maoist insurrections. The real costs are paid in blood and bitterness, and bloated internal security budgets. The Maoist violence has long crossed the point where it can be countered by non-violent means. It must be suppressed before improvement in governance can even be contemplated.

But the violence is a symptom, albeit one that must be addressed. The underlying disease requires multi-pronged treatment. Clean up land titles. Reintroduce the Right to Property as a Fundamental Right. Define public purpose stringently. Recognise and reconcile community rights to land in some fashion. Scrap official classification for land-use and let owners do what they want with their land. Rework compensation formulae to include upsides from future value-addition and get third-party compensation valuation.

The windfall profits would reduce. But there would be wealth-generation as mining, steel plants, national parks, paper mills, etc, replace subsistence farming. Resentment will abate only as and when dispossessed locals get a stake in that wealth-generation.

Side by side, governance must improve. The loss in instant profits would be compensated for by lower policing costs and rising tax revenues as economic activity increases. One tangible sign of improvement would be the lalajis in Jhargram making change for Rs 500 notes.

Comments

    26 Apr 13 at 05:05 PM
By: carpet and upholstery cleaners liverpool

I have been through the whole content of this blog which is very informative and knowledgeable stuff, So i would like to visit again. carpet and upholstery cleaners liverpool

    24 Apr 13 at 02:34 PM
By: long island airport car service

I love the blog. Great post. It is very true, people must learn how to learn before they can learn. long island airport car service

    18 Apr 13 at 01:28 PM
By: hyip monitor

I just got to this amazing site not long ago. I was actually captured with the piece of resources you have got here. Big thumbs up for making such wonderful blog page! hyip monitor

    13 Apr 13 at 12:53 PM
By: hyip monitor

Things are very open and intensely clear explanation of issues. was truly information. Your website is very beneficial. Appreciate your sharing. online datingThings are very open and intensely clear explanation of issues. hyip monitor

    03 Apr 13 at 02:53 PM
By: online dating

Future residents are within a short driving distance to Ang Ko Kio Hub and Compass Point. With such a short drive to the city area as well as the orchard and bugis area, entertainment for your love ones and family will come at a stone’s throw away. online dating

    20 Mar 13 at 03:33 PM
By: seo forum

Wonderful blog. It’s the best time to fix oil leaks with Koospad, your ultimate solution to stop engine oil leaks and car oil leaks professionally. Get ready to stop car engine oil leaks with us.Thanks a lot. seo forum

    20 Mar 13 at 03:31 PM
By: seo forum

Wonderful blog. It’s the best time to fix oil leaks with Koospad, your ultimate solution to stop engine oil leaks and car oil leaks professionally. Get ready to stop car engine oil leaks with us.Thanks a lot. seo forum

    05 Mar 13 at 11:51 AM
By: azon profit store theme

thank you for the article. It was really interesting! Very informative thanks for sharing.

    28 Feb 13 at 07:29 PM
By: McLaren Mercedes Collectables

Collectables :.squidoo.com/vodafone-mclaren-mercedes-formula-one

    26 Jan 13 at 02:36 PM
By: book cheap hotels apartment from hotelapartmentsindubai

I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. hotelapartmentsindubai.net

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | | Next




Sensex

Company Price Gain (%)
Cipla456.301.92
Tata Steel553.401.56
GAIL (India)436.350.74
Coal India368.950.49
Reliance Inds.1,006.000.05

Poll

Will Nifty July futures end above 7,800?


Online Portfolio

You can create Online Portfolio here using the below button.