Anna Hazare is back again in Delhi. Earlier, it was their movement against corruption; and now it is against the new amended Land Bill that Central Government wants to pass while the amendments are already operational through an ordinance. It’s interesting to see some ‘civil’ activists emerging during non-election time or political peacetime when politicians prefer sabbatical.
The activists hold little accountability. Oops, except that they are answerable to themselves. They are civil; they define their own roles, and spell out responsibilities of others. They make news, and claim that they make people aware of unfolding of some unseen danger. They claim full knowledge of what’s good and what’s bad for the country. They never believe the government of the day. They have the ability of carrying out interminable discussion about all aspects of issues confronting our country; well, before a live camera.
And our politicians are god-worshipping people. They worship and adore depending on the pen they are in. If they are in Congress, they proffer their allegiance to a family. If they are claimed by BJP, prayers must go to Nagpur. Aam Aadmi politicians will immolate their political capital at the onset of a protest at the feet of Anna, the elder brother. Or, if they belong to Left, god lived in a place abroad – in tandem with the Western Aryan theory, perhaps. For regional parties, it is a patriarch or a matriarch. Interestingly, most of these gods are not directly accountable to people. In some cases, they are not even remotely accountable to people. That’s the power of Indian democracy.
British Land Act of 1894, later adopted by independent India, was repealed in 2013 as it had entrusted a surfeit of power in executives in government; and the vulnerability was naked with the fast paced economic development across India during past several years. The newer act (The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013) integrated lucrative compensations to land owners, introduced caveats in regard to fertile farming lands, and established a framework for consent of stakeholders and resolution of disputes.
The 2013 Act was criticised due to the compulsion of heavy compensation to the land owners that would then eventually increase the cost of proposed infrastructures. The real estate developers and owners of large-scale infra-oriented industries slagged it off. Then the transition in government happened; and the new corporate-friendly government wanted to do away with the clauses that will hinder easy land acquisition by our government for private corporate houses towards public causes. We cannot disbelieve the core intention of the present government that we have elected decisively only a few months ago. They need land for upgrading our capability for national security, conducting massive drive for rural electrification, avail affordable housing for poor, building social infrastructure for health and education, and laying industrial corridors for more jobs for our youth. In fact, this is what the new bill says; and I just made these explicit.
Many believe farming cannot produce the same level of job security or fashion decent urban living like other industries. The pantheon of new advisers to the Central Government argue better. The current level of awareness of the terms of economic prosperity among rural and urban masses in India and their preparedness for a systemic change in the path to achieve such prosperity would need surgical fixes rather than evolutionary doses. Yes, it’s surgery; and leave it to the surgeon who performs it.
Opposition says the new bill is anti-farmers. Government says it is industry-friendly. Both are correct; another amusing facet of Indian democracy.