NEW DELHI: Suggesting a major land reform, an expert committee set up by the NITI Aayog has proposed legalising agricultural land leasing and widening the use of such land for all kinds of crop activities, horticulture, and food processing.
The Aayog will soon unveil a central Model Land Leasing Act that will supersede all existing land laws in states, which will have to emulate the central legislation, sources in NITI Aayog said on Thursday.
"Legalising land leasing in all areas will ensure complete security of land ownership right for the land owners and security of tenure for the lessee cultivators for the agreed lease period," the expert committee report has suggested.
The existing tenancy laws, most of which are several decades old, allow transfer of ownership rights to the tenant while either prohibiting or heavily discouraging leasing and sub-leasing of land.
The Aayog had set up an expert committee under T Haque in September last year to prepare a model agricultural land leasing Act in consultation with the states keeping in view the need to legalise and liberalise land leasing.
In states like Rajasthan, where barren land is available in abundance, the governments will decide on the use of such land and the law provides enough flexibility to decide on the terms and conditions of the agreement between the owner and the tenant, sources said.
According to the committee, the terms and conditions of lease are to be determined mutually by the land owner and the cultivator without any fear on the part of the owner of losing land right or undue expectation on the part of the tenant or cultivator of acquiring any occupancy right for continuous possessions of land for any agreed lease period.
"Allow automatic resumption of land by the land owner on the expiry of the lease period," it said, adding that the law will recognise all forms of lease cultivation and facilitate tenants to access insurance, disaster relief and bank credit without mortgaging the leased land.
Addressing the future disputes arising under the law, sources in the Aayog said the civil court jurisdiction has been barred in this case. "Disputes under the Act will be resolved at the gram panchayat level and, as a last resort, one could approach a special tribunal which will be set up for the purpose."