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Mainstream, VOL LVI No 47 New Delhi November 10, 2018

Need for People’s Mobilisation on Land Reforms

Monday 12 November 2018

COMMUNICATION

On October 2, the Gandhi Jayanti Day, nearly 25,000 landless rural workers and adivasi peasants from various parts of India assembled at Gwalior and a huge meeting on land-related issues was organised as a part of a wider mobilisation of people to demand much better and stronger implementation of land reforms.

Keeping in view the extremely important role of land reforms for reducing rural poverty and ensuring sustainable food security to the most vulnerable sections, there is clearly a need for strong government action on this front but this responsibility has been completely neglected by the government in recent times. Even though the ground level action has to be taken by the State Government but clear and strong land reform policy at the national level and policy guidelines issued on this basis certainly fall in the realm of the Union Government. Unfortunately this responsibility has been badly neglected.

In such a situation broad-based mobilisation of people for completing the abandoned agenda of land reforms in India is badly needed. This year an initiative called Jan Andolan is being coordinated by a Gandhian organisation, Ekta Parishad, an organisation which has been working for nearly three decades for land reforms at the grassroots. This initiative is trying to link up more and more organisations and people who believe in non-violent social mobilisation for land reforms. These efforts have culminated in the first week of October. The demands of this initiative include strengthening the Forest Rights Act and PESA legislation, ensuring homestead rights to all rural people, formulation of the clear land reforms policy, setting up a Land Reforms Council at the national level, ensuring speedy justice on land-related cases and properly recognising land rights of women farmers.

While a few of these demands can bring immediate relief to some of the most vulnerable people and communities, other demands can help in longer-term revival of land reforms. These demands deserve wide support.

Bharat Dogra 

C-27 Raksha Kunj, Paschim Vihar, New Delhi 110063

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