NITI Aayog’s report on Model Law on Agricultural Land Leasing

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Under the chairmanship of Dr T. Haque, former head of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, NITI Aayog constituted an Expert Committee in 2015 in order to prepare a Model Law on Agricultural Land Leasing.

Preamble of the Model Law:

A law to permit and facilitate the leasing of agricultural land, to improve agricultural efficiency and equity, access to land by the landless and semi-landless poor, occupational diversity and for accelerated rural growth and transformation; provide recognition to farmers cultivating agricultural land on lease for enabling them to access loans through credit institutions, insurance, disaster relief and other support services provided by Government, while protecting fully the land rights of the owners; and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Key Features of the proposed Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act

• Legalize land leasing to promote agricultural efficiency, equity and poverty reduction. This will also help in much-needed productivity improvement in agriculture as well as the occupational mobility of the people and rapid rural change.

• Would ensure complete security of land ownership right for landowners and security of tenure for tenants for the agreed lease period.

• Removes the clause of adverse possession of land in the land laws of various states.

• Allows automatic resumption of the land after the agreed lease period without requiring any minimum area of land to be left with the tenant even after termination of tenancy.

• Allow the terms and conditions of lease to be determined mutually by the landowner and the tenant without any fear.

• Facilitates tenants and sharecroppers to access bank credit against pledging of expected output.

• Incentivizes tenants to make an investment in land improvement.

• At the time of termination of tenancy, the proposed act entitles the tenants to get back the unused value of the investment.

It is worth noting that the model legislation is yet to be adopted by states.

In November 2019, the central government also set up a GoM (Group of Ministers) to resolve differences over the proposed model law on agricultural land leasing.

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