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Major changes likely in Tenancy Laws, purchase of agricultural land open to all?

Officials were sent out of Gujarat to study the situation in other states

Updated: Mar 9th, 2024

The exercise to make drastic changes in the Gujarat Tenancy and Agricultural Land Laws or ‘Ganot dhara’ has gained momentum.

Plans are being made to abolish the entire process of juni sharat and navi sharat (old tenure and new tenure agreements). The government has formed a committee to study what kind of changes can be made.

The committee will submit its report to the government next month. After the Lok Sabha elections, drastic changes in the existing constitutional law in Gujarat are definitely visible.

If these changes are implemented, anyone can become a farmer. Changes in the existing land tenure will be made in such a way that the premium income of the government will not change but can even also increase.

At present, there are many discrepancies in the tenancy laws in Gujarat, as well as in the juni sharat and navi sharat. There is a lot of confusion regarding the laws.

Citizens are also facing great difficulties in paying their premiums, leading to corruption in the system. 

On the other hand, farmers are unable to get adequate prices for their valuable land. Because farmers can sell their agricultural land only to other farmers. Agricultural land cannot be sold to non-farmers.

If agricultural land is to be sold to others, it must first be made NA (non-agricultural). In which the government has to be paid a premium of 35-40% of the total land value. There are also some other expenses attached. In such a situation, it is mostly the farmers suffer financial losses at times.

In this regard, applications have been made several times to the government.

Tenancy Laws committee to submit a report

This time around, the government seems to have decided to take some concrete steps. It formed a committee three to four months ago under the chairmanship of retired revenue secretary CL Meena.

Meena is taking feedback from the district officials at present about which clauses are stricter, what changes can be made, how many applications are currently coming under juni sharat and navi sharat, what difficulties are there, and how they can be reduced.

The committee members are constantly meeting with various collectors, land owners, and land law experts to obtain information. Not only that, some members have also been sent to other states outside Gujarat to understand the laws of other states.

A report on what and how reforms can be done in Gujarat will be then submitted to the committee. The committee will also prepare a report in this regard and submit it to the government.

Based on the report, the government will take a decision.

Sources in Sachivalay say that the committee can submit its report within a month. That means a decision will be taken after the Lok Sabha elections.

The decision to make changes in the law will be announced only after getting the green signal from the Central government. If amendments are to be made to the law, a bill for the same has to be brought to the assembly. Ordinances can also be brought.

Who can be a farmer?

At present, the situation is such that, in the family where the grandfather-father or grandfather is a farmer, only his family members are considered farmers. That is, one can become a farmer only by inheritance.

For which they should have lands under juni sharat and navi sharat.

Sources say that Maharashtra and Gujarat have strict Tenancy Laws. While other states of the country have it, but not so strict. In most states, it is hassle-free and flexible, according to sources.

What is juni sharat and navi sharat in Gujarat?

Juni sharat, or the ‘old tenure’, signifies that an agriculturist holds exclusive proprietorship over agricultural land. This designation suggests an arrangement where the landholder possesses full rights to the land.

On the other hand, navi sharat, or the ‘new tenure’, denotes land that is technically owned by the government. However, under the provisions of the Bombay Tenancy & Agricultural Land Act of 1948, the occupier or agriculturist has acquired ownership rights over the land.

Favourable for industrialists?

The changes may pave the way for builders and industrialists of Gujarat to buy large agricultural lands easily, leading to the potential expansion of concrete jungles.

This means that the price of land may also increase dramatically.

Attempts were made to contact the members of the committee and some officials in this regard, but they refused to comment on the same.

Also read:

Bihar-model in Gujarat: Farmers framed by police, their land seized