Friday, February 1, 2008

Open Mike 1 : Land Acquisition and Land Reforms (minutes)

Session I - Minutes/areas of discussion

Land Acquisition and Land Reforms

* Discussion on wall street journal article

* Land reforms turned into land acquisition.
- Zamindari system pre-independence was the reason for land reforms
- Land reforms were not implemented and land redistribution did not
happen to a large extent
- Now government uses the same laws and eminent domain to confiscate land

* Brief discussion on Land issues in other parts of the world - South africa and Brazil - implementation of Land reforms. India and China - Land acquisition by State.

* We moved on to discussion legal frameworks and what could be a possible solution in the case of SEZs. One suggestion was to repeal law that made sale of agricultural land impossible.

* Discussion led to forms of governance - how communities can have more say - more power/finances to local governments with a federal framework ?

* Discussion on corruption - why its most in India. Comparision to US. Why do we accept it as part of life ? - What is the solution - incentives - to be not corrupt and punishment when corrupt - Does the society need to encourage questioning of such corruption in the system, or will the solution actually cause such questioning to happen ?

* Discussion on the 9th Schedule - Tug of war for more power between Supreme court and legislative body. Discussion on how Supreme court can question any law and interpret the constitution and what constitutes a fundamental right. some discussion on judicial activism and specifics

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Open Mike 1 : Land Acquisition and Land Reforms (links)

[1] Shruti Rajagopalan's article "India's Property Wrongs" in The Wall Street Journal. This article gives a history behind how India came to have its current version of land laws in the constitution, and presents an interesting viewpoint into the Singur and Nandigram scenario. Shruti is a former research associate of the Public Interest Legal Support and Research Center.

[2] Land Research Action Network's backgrounder on India's Land Reforms. LRAN is a network of researchers and social movements that work towards promoting the right of individuals and communities to land. The backgrounder (in two parts online, or a single PDF) details the history of India's land reforms and its various issues and challenges. LRAN has studies on many countries. Links here to Brazil, South Africa, and Venezuela. This page has link to all the countries they've researched on.

[3] The Great Betrayal: Indian Land Reforms by Venu Govindu. Venu Govindu reviews Siddharth Dube's Words Like Freedom : Memoirs of an Impoverished Indian Family 1947-1997. Artcile in India Together. Other articles in India Together related to land issues are here.

"Give me Land" is a BBC four-part series on struggles for land - it covers South Africa, India, China and Brazil.

[5] "Ninth Schedule: What the Supreme Court judgement means" an article by Indira Jaising in Rediff on the January 11, 2007 Supreme Court judgement. Indira Jaising is a senior Supreme Court lawyer.

[6] Agrarian Reform for a Liberal Pattern of Society? Karnataka's Land Policy and the New Dispensation. By Ronald Herring of Cornell University. (pdf link) To quote from the Abstract of the article:
It is puzzling how much the discourse of development has backed away from the seemingly central question of rural poverty: land. Elaborate rules concerning its distribution, rights, regulation, protection, utilities have multiple development objectives, but poverty alleviation, individual liberty and community revitalization have long been on the stated agenda throughout India -- with radically varying levels of effort and effect. The Karnataka Land Reforms Act [Amended] that came into force on March 1, l974, is in line with the vision of the founders. Its pattern reflects -- more so than in West Bengal, which is widely lauded for its agrarian reforms -- the conclusions of the Congress Agrarian Reforms Committee of l949 and promoted over time with variable enthusiasm by Union governments. Such agrarian reforms have been considered among the most important mechanisms for achieving a socialist pattern of society as indicated in the Preamble and Directive Principles of State Policy (Part IV) of the Constitution. Elaborate and careful policy thinking by the founders connected classic agrarian reforms with poverty alleviation. What happens to land policy as liberal economic policy replaces “socialism” as directive principle? There are widespread claims -- both normative and empirical -- of "reversal of land reforms" in various parts of India under pressure of new export strategies, globalization, and multiplication of sub-subsistence holdings over time. What are the implications of reforming the reforms for poverty alleviation under new conditions?

[7] Various articles on Land Tenure, Agrarian Structure, and Land Reform by Professor Frithjof Kuhnen. (html and pdf links to the articles on the page.) Dr. Kuhnen is a professor of Rural Development at the University of Göttingen.

[8] Impact of Agrarian Reform on Poverty by Celia M. Reyes on the reforms in the Philippines. (pdf link)

[9] World Forum on Agrarian Reform

[10]India together articles on Land Reforms and acquisition

Open Mike 1 : Land Acquisition and Land Reforms (topic)

Thursday Open Mike
Topic: Land Acquisition and Land Reforms
January 31, 2008 [Thursday]
@ 8PM in Gaurav's House.
1781 Spyglass Drive #244
Austin TX 78746

Tonight's open mike will center around "Land Acquisition and Land Reforms". Just because that was the first topic I received. Anyway its open mike, so the discussions can go anywhere. I'll try to gather some information about this in different countries and such before the session.

Thursday Open Mike -- First Announcement

Starting this thursday, we'll begin a series of "Thursday Open Mike" sessions. The idea behind this is to have dedicated time to discuss what folks think are important issues that need discussion to further understanding. There is no compulsion on the discussions at these sessions to have any practical outcomes in the immediate or any future, although it would be nice if it did. The primary motivation is purely selfish, its to further one's personal understanding on different issues. Lets plan on a 90 minute session, starting at 8PM. Please try to come by 7:45, so that we actually spend all the 90 minutes on the discussion.

A note on topics. There is no restriction on the topic, except that it needs to be something that folks can think about and formulate their own thoughts about it. For example, we could learn the history of nation boundaries, starting from a society where tribes demarcated their territories from neighboring tribes to the current day nation states and discuss what the use of nation boundaries really are. Another example could be how would you organize Indian govt. political system for maximum democratic participation. These are just examples. Please send me an email about what you would like to discuss and I'll send an announcement out on Wednesday as to what we will be discussing.

I am hoping this will be well attended. The more folks we have, the more inputs and varied viewpoints we will be able to gather. Please come, and please bring forward what you would like to discuss. Please forward this email to anyone you think will be interested in this. Looking forward to the first meeting this Thursday.