Will the government honour its promises on land reform?

A reader writes to remind us of Ekta Parishad’s land reform campaign in India in 2012 – see the report on this site – which ended when tens of thousands of marchers assembled in Agra, saw Jairam Ramesh, then Minister for Rural Development, sign a historic 10-point agreement and were given copies to take back to their towns and villages.

march from gwalior

The document promised important land reform measures, including:

  • the provision of land for homeless families so they could build homes,
  • land for agricultural workers to grow enough to meet their needs and feed their families
  • more rigorous implementation of existing laws such as the Forest Rights Act,
  • and the introduction of fast track tribunals to settle land disputes.

However since May the Modi Government has not moved forward with these measures, though in 2012 Modi’s BJP party endorsed them. Indeed the Land Acquisition Act of 2013 is being amended to make it easier for companies and investors to dispossess people of their land.

An attached press release has reported that 5000 people from across India will be marching to Delhi on 24 February to demand that the Indian government honour its promises on land reform and show the government there is no going back, as Rajagopal, leader of Ekta Parishad the group that organised the Jan Satyagraha, or March for Justice, said.

The plan (to be confirmed) is to meet at Palwal on 20 February and arrive in Delhi on 24th to remind Prime Minister Modi of the commitments signed by the government in 2012. Supporters from every part of India and individuals and groups from across the world will be contacting the Prime Minister to urge him to move forward on the vital land reform agenda.

Those who want to write to Prime Minister Modi to urge him to take action on land reform should use this address:

Prime Minister´s Office, Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 152, South Block, Raisina Hill, New Delhi – 110011

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