Karnataka Land Reforms (Amendment) Bill, 2020
The Karnataka State Legislative Council recently passed the Land Reforms (Amendment) Bill 2020. The 2020 amendment bill seeks to amend the Karnataka Land reforms Act of 1961. The 1961 Act brought in restrictions on ownership of agricultural lands in the state. The amendment removes 3 sections of the Act to allow ownership of farmlands by non-agriculturists. It also removed the income barrier for purchasing farmland i.e. the provision that only people with income of less than 25 lakh INR per annum. The Land Reforms Act, 1961 is being diluted by successive state governments in the state to facilitate industrial growth and agricultural land ownership by non-farmers.
What are the recent amendments?
The Karnataka Land Reforms (Amendment) bill, 2020 has repealed three main sections of the Karnataka Land Reforms Act, 1961. They are all related to the ownership of the farmlands. They are as follows
- The amendments have done away with Section 79A. This section allowed only those earning less than Rs 25 lakhs per annum to buy agricultural land
- Also, the amendment has done away with Section 79B. It said only people earning a living through agriculture can buy agricultural land
- The Section 79C of the act has been removed. This section allowed revenue departments to investigate alleged violations of Section 79A and Section 79B.
Why are the amendments made?
The amendments are being made as according to the State Government, the sections being repealed are facilitating corruption in the offices of tahsildars and registrars. Over 13,814 cases of violation are pending under Section 79 A and B. Also, it will boost industrial investments.
Concerns of the Amendments
The amendments allow the non-agriculturists to buy agricultural land within the state of Karnataka. This will lead to loss of agricultural land that are being cultivated to meet food requirements. The state is citing other states such as Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh as examples where the curbs on sale and purchase of agricultural land does not exist.