PM Modi’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ with Farmers: Main Points Still unclear

A couple of hours ago, PM Modi’s ‘Mann ki Baat’ with farmers was aired on All India Radio.

It was not very much different from what was earlier suspected. It was simply an all out attempt by the PM to convince farmers to support BJP Government’s new Land Acquisition Bill.

To sum up, the monologue informed the farmers these things:

  • Upto 4 times compensation for acquired Land
  • Job for One member of the family
  • Development of Roads, Railways and Industry where even farmers’ children will get jobs.

But unfortunately, the PM didn’t share the contentious points of the Land Acquisition Bill:

  • Upto 4 times means a possibility. It doesn’t mean compulsorily 4 times compensation. This is an assurance and not a rule.
  • Why doesn’t the Government make Corporate (Businesses) buy land directly from the farmers. This way farmers will get better price for their lands.
  • What kind of job will be given to one member of the family. Will it be Permanent or Contractual? A job which pays low salary or which has no security for future (fund etc.) is NO JOB.
  •  How many jobs will these create and what will be conditions of employment. You can displace a farmer and make him work for paltry wages (paltry means small or insignificant).
  • The permission to go to Court against acquisition is not the same as farmer’s permission before the acquisition. The right to property is already a legal right. This means that even before the new Bill, no person can be deprived of his property, and if that happens, he can go to Court. Hence the ability to go to court against acquisition is not a virtue (as PM said in Mann ki Baat).
  • PM Modi said that PPP Model (Public Private Model) will give farmers a monthly pension of Rs 5000. Although the specifics of this are still unknown whether the displaced farmer will get job or pension or both, but still this talk of pension is NOT attractive. Because, if the farmer gets adequate price for his land, then he himself can manage a pension much more than Rs 5000 per month. Just to give you an idea, if one deposits 1.5 Lakh Rupees in Post Office MIS (Monthly income scheme) he gets an interest of Rs 1000. This means by depositing Rs 7.5 Lakh in post office one can easily get Rs 5000 per month as pension.

PM tried to sound very close to farmers, but only assurances will not work. If the new bill is aimed at getting good deal for farmers, then why it wants to create Land Bank for the corridors. It can acquire land for public purposes such as Roads and railways; but why it’s acquiring land for industries.  If the land adjacent to these roads and highways become attractive for industry, then let the industry acquire the land directly from the farmers.