Shri Pranab Mukherjee,
Union of India
Subject: Gram Sabha Resolutions against moves to distort and curtail the Land Acquisition, MNREGA and Food Security laws
A massive People’s Parliament has been held today in the national capital, Delhi, against the ‘Loot of Land, Livelihood and Food’. This Jan Sansad was the culmination of a campaign whereby gram sabhas have been held in thousands of villages across the country, to discuss the proposed changes in the Land Acquisition Act, Food Security Act and MNREGA, copies of which are being submitted along with this memorandum.
We urge you to heed this voice of the villagers of this country, and their concerns about their rights to land, livelihood and food.
The resolutions (translated below in English) unanimously reject the Land Acquisition Ordinance (now Bill) or any of the proposed changes in the Land Acquisition Act 2013. They also reject the proposed distortion or curtailment of the Food Security Act and MNREGA.
Resolution No 1:
As a result of long struggle, the 1894 Land Acquisition Act was amended and the new Land Acquisition Act 2013 was enacted, which made people’s consent and assessment of impact of land acquisition on society and food security, a pre- condition for acquisition. But the Central Government headed by Modi, with its Land Acquisition Ordinance, is hell bent on distorting the law in order to snatch back the rights won by peasants. This Ordinance has been brought to promote the interests of corporations and profiteers. This Ordinance is against the common good of the country’s peasants, workers, fisherpeople, and women. This ordinance is an unconstitutional curtailment of the gram sabha’s rights to control, use, and take decisions over water, forests, land, fish and minerals.
This is why our gram sabha rejects the Ordinance and demands that the President and the Loksabha Speaker withdraw the Land Acquisition Ordinance with immediate effect.
Resolution No 2:
The Central government is conspiring to curtail the MNREGA, which was enacted with the aim of generating employment for the rural poor. Currently MNREGA applies in rural areas all over the country and any person can seek employment from the Government which the latter is obliged to provide. The Modi Government is seeking to restrict the scope of this Act. In the Act as it stands now, the Government is obligated to spend 60% of the allocated funds on wages; the Modi Govt is now trying to change this to 40%. This is an attack on the right to employment of the rural poor. The gram sabha unanimously resolves to oppose this ploy and demands that the President and Lok Sabha Speaker put a step to this step of the Government.
Resolution No 3:
The Central Government is seeking to massively slash provisions in the Food Security Act also. The current law mandates provision of rations to 75% of the rural population; which the Central Government is seeking to reduce to 40%. The gram sabha strongly condemns this ploy of the Central Government, and demands that the President and Lok Sabha Speaker put a step to this anti-people step of the Government.
We seek your intervention to ensure that the government's move to legitimise forcible land acquisition without prior informed consent of landowners and fair compensation and resettlement provision for all livelihood losers and curtail food security and MNREGA are halted immediately.
Kuldip Nayyar (Writer, Columnist and Civil Libertarian), Rajaram Singh (General Secretary, All India Kisan Mahasabha, Member, Campaign Committee, All India People's Forum), Sunilam (President, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Member, Campaign Committee, All India People's Forum, and ex-MLA), Rameshwar Prasad (President, All India Agricultural Labour Association, Member, Campaign Committee, All India People's Forum), Raju Bora (President, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, Advisor, All India People's Forum), Roma Malik (Gen. Sec., All India Union of Forest Working People, Member, Campaign Committee, All India People's Forum), Dayamani Barla (Member, Campaign Committee, All India People's Forum), Ruldu Singh (President, All India Kisan Mahasabha, Advisor, All India People's Forum), Dhirendra Jha (General Secretary, All India Agricultural Labour Association, Member, Campaign Committee, All India People's Forum), Vijay Kulkarni (Member, Campaign Committee, All India People's Forum), Kavita Krishnan (Secretary, All India Progressive Women's Association, Member, Campaign Committee, All India People's Forum)