Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Can 'land banks' solve India's agri problems?

   In its most basic form, what do you think is the function of a bank? Well, we believe its job is to take capital from those who do not need the same at the moment and give it to those who are in need of it. An arrangement of this kind has worked wonderfully well since time immemorial, isn't it? So, how about using the same approach in the area of agricultural land? In other words, taking uncultivated land from people who neither want to lease nor sell it but are willing to give it to those who are in need of it. Well, an idea of exactly the same nature has been put before India's planning commission and is believed to be under its active consideration. The ET reports that the proposal will kill two major issues associated with India's agriculture at one go. On the supply side, it would address the concerns of landowners and thus bring under cultivation large tracts of underused or fallow land. And on the demand side, it would provide the needy sections of society an access to land, which they have not been able to compete for in the open land market. The implementation though is not as easy as it seems. Owners of land are likely to put up their land in the land bank only if there are strong land records and guarantee that land grabbing will not happen. Thus, it could be a long time before any such proposal sees the light of the day. India does not have such innovative systems though to realise its full potential.

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