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Rural Youngistan don’t want to be a farmer

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Mukta kaushik

NEW DELHI : Agriculture is no longer a preferred business. People who own farm lands are more than willing to part with it. This is even more pronounced in younger generation who prefer any sort of regular job rather than taking up farming.

A study has found that it is not the size of landholding but the level of urbanization that determines “willingness to parting with agricultural land”. 77% of landowners in peri-urban areas were willing to part with their land subject to adequate compensation whereas this rate was 51% in rural areas.And this willingness is lot higher in younger people.

According to Census 2011, every day 2,000 farmers give up farming. The young among the farming communities are hardly interested in agriculture. It is found that though 80-90% of students studying agriculture belong to the farming community, most of them prefer a career other than farming. At present, around 0.4 million students are enrolled in agricultural universities and institutes. Most of
them, around 70-80% join the banking sector. It is called the “great Indian agro brain drain”. (Jitendra, 2017).

The communication revolution and structural changes aided this significant shift further. Rural teledensity has reached 52.43% (TRAI 2017), TV ownership has overtaken urban India by 17%, (IANS 2017) land taken for infrastructure industry has changed land use pattern but these are not taken into consideration. Understanding these new aspirations of rural people is important before reaching any conclusion.Keeping this in mind a study was designed to map differences in the response of landowners and their children in the hypothetical situation of land being acquired by the government in rural areas. Respondent’s residential location, landholdings, education, caste, religion and etc. were also taken into consideration.

Looking at demographic changes in rural areas is important to understand the aspirations of rural masses. For this data was taken from the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) 64 th round survey. It was found that rural migration increased from 34% to 39% in 2007-08 from 1999-2000. Thus confirming our beliefs that opportunities in rural areas are on the decline. Source of income from
cultivation is also showing a declining trend. According to Census 2011 for 95.8 million the main occupation was farming whereas in 2001 and 1991 this was 103 and 110 respectively.

Looking in this light the demand for amendment in Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.
India replaced its century-old Land Acquisition Act, 1894 with the Right to Fair Compensation due to Singur and Nandigram and the end of 34 years of Left Rule in the state of West Bengal showed the strength of rural areas in vote bank politics and thus came Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011 which gave rise to LARR Act, 2013. This bill made rehabilitation and resettlement of evicted population part of the act. But within six months of the Act, the demand again arose to made amendments. Thus, came Land Acquisition Amendment Bill, 2015. It seeks to include land for private hospitals and private educational institutions within the definition of public purpose. It sought to exempt five categories
of projects from the requirement of social impact assessment, restriction on multi-cropped land and consent clause for both private projects and PPPs. Five categories are defense, rural infrastructure, affordable housing, industrial corridors, and infrastructure.

Removal of social impact assessment or consent clause from five categories is aimed at bypassing involvement of landowners in the decision-making because it is generally believed that farmers are generally unwilling to part with their land and eminent domain should be used for involuntary sales. But this assumption is not correct as verified by a study conducted by Anusha Nath et al, 2013.

According to the study, the major cause of farmer’s protest in Singur was inadequate compensation. Another study was done by Roy et al 2013 also revealed that over 61% of landowners were willing to give their land for industry. Thus, it can be stated that the LARR Act, 2013 needs amendment but the objective should be more dialogue between rural people and the government. The transition from rural to urban economy requires participation and not alienation.

1. TRAI (2017): “Highlights of Telecom Subscription Data as on 31st October 2016,” Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Press Release No 03/2017, http://www.trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/Telecom%20Sub_Eng_pr.03_09-01…

2. Agriculture Census Division (2014a): “Agriculture Census 2010–11,” Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, http://agcensus.nic.in/document/agcensus2010/completereport.pdf.

3. IANS (2015): “Television Access in Rural India Riding on Digital Revolution,” Sify Finance, 8 May, http://www.sify.com/finance/television-access-in-rural-india-riding-on-d…

4. Nath, Anusha, Maitreesh Ghatak, Sandip Mitra and Dilip Mookherjee (2013): “What Really Happened in Singur? Land Acquisition and Compensation,” Economic & Political Weekly, Vol 48, No 21, pp 32–44. https://www.epw.in/journal/2018/32/special-articles/amendment- larr-act-2013-and-aspirations.html

5. Jitendra, 2017. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/how-to-inspire-india-s-youth-to- take-up-farming-56849

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