How can we call any Indian an Indian unless and until he or she owns a piece of Indian land? The question is very relevant both in philosophical sense as well as materialistic. Anyone who professes a sense of belonging to a largely emotional concept like a nation must necessarily have at least one tangible connection with the same. What can be a better choice for this than a piece of land that he or she cannot part with during their lifetime, unless of course one chose to lose the citizenship? All living Indian citizens must necessary own a minimum piece of land and it should be his or her birthright to own it. If all Indians are going to have a Unique Identity Number each in the not-so-distant future, we should also be thinking of enacting progressive and revolutionary laws that empowers them with a minimum piece of land (and also one bank account). India can truly belong to all Indians only if each Indian alive has atleast a piece of its real estate to set foot on.
Equal distribution of a nation’s wealth among all its living citizens at all times is the most idealistic situation that we can ever think of. No nation has ever achieved this and never can it be achieved. But even when we are fully aware of the impracticality of an ideal setup, we should be definitely trying for working towards its optimum levels of achievement. The food, shelter and clothing formula of Indian politicians for getting votes in elections is now completely outdated. The next promise of electricity, road and water has also become another casual electoral slogan that raises fewer heads nowadays. All these items promised are very basic for any human being in this twenty first century and the act of being promised sounds atrocious. No body likes a promise to be provided with what is legitimately his or her own. The ruling dispensation and politicians in India must be thinking of promising innovatively in the coming elections. Any political party promising drastic land reforms will have tremendous advantage in a country like India with an agrarian economy is a lesson never learnt by many of them.
Land for Living
The very basic use of land is for food cultivation and building shelters. All other uses like commercial buildings, commercial crops, hotels, airports etc., are secondary. Every single individual in this planet who is willing to participate in food cultivation must have access to land. Air, water and food being the only three essential requirements of any living being, it should be the top most priority of any governing body to ensure availability of facilities for their production to anyone who is willing to. In countries like India and China, which are clearly overpopulated, the role of farmers can never be overestimated. Ultimately, every nation has to provide food for its people from within its boundaries and use of land assumes greatest importance in these countries. Land for living must take precedence over land as a ‘real estate’ commodity for trading. Millions of poor people are struggling for food in India when millions of acres of land are lying locked up as tradable commodity. The two realities in simultaneous existence do not make any sense at all in a civilized nation.
All farmers need not have hand under their ownership for cultivation. As far as food production is concerned, land is just one of the essential ingredients and it must be easily available to those who want to cultivate. Unlike tools and manure, land cannot be bought and disposed as and when required. The farmer must either have it in his ownership or must be available on lease or loan. The concept of land banks becomes very relevant in this regard. If agricultural loans can be provided by commercial banks, why not have land banks providing land for cultivation in a systematic and legalized way? Any farmer (or a group of them) must be able to get land and loan for utilizing his or her specialized knowledge for food production. It might sound yet another idealistic situation, but the reality is that unless we have clear cut ideas for highlighting its importance and thereby boost food production, India will again slip back into famines and abject poverty once again. Minimum land must be available under everyone’s ownership for shelter and maximum land must be available to anyone who is willing to cultivate. That is the best policy to prevent any poverty and any revolution.
Land for Investment
In the age of globalization, real estate has truly become one of the most attractive investment areas and it is almost impossible to reverse the trend. Frequent collapse of commercial banks and stock market has made this new area highly lucrative and sensible. With the land area remaining same and the world population exploding, there is bound to be shortage of land at all times to come. Any progressive dispensation for national governance must provide avenues for investing surplus funds. But all such avenues must be regulated from outside if not self-regulated. With increasing greed for profit, power and pleasure, we are witnessing unimaginable attempts to corner more and more of land by individuals even if it meant throwing out human beings from their only shelters. Man’s innate urge for natural justice is tested most at the sight of such atrocities of Man against Man. Minimum land for shelter is everyone’s divine birth right and any one trying to snatch it away can only be inhuman.
The role of governments in regulating land for investment comes in here. In every city and every village it must be possible to calculate the land area available in surplus of the minimum shelter requirement of its population. Even if we provide for ten times this figure as provisions for future requirements, it must still be possible to fix the area available as surplus. The overall limit for investment in land must be limited to only a fraction of this surplus land area. Let those who can afford have the best and most of such real estate depending upon their capacity to generate surplus wealth by legitimate means. But the vast majority of the surplus land available must be reserved only for cultivation. There can be scope for investment in this area as well for those who are willing to operate land banks. Almost in line with other commercial banks, these land banks must be offering land loans to any farmer who is self interested in cultivation. His or her return to the bank must be nominal amounts for land use for specific periods with no destruction of the land.
Indian nation is in dire need of drastic land reforms in order to achieve a more just and fair distribution of its national wealth. Land is an inalienable right of all living human beings and it is high time progressive secular nations like India showed the way to the world by assigning ‘un’transferable rights to all Indians alive at least 5 cents* of land each at the nearest neighborhood available. The right to such UMSL (Un-transferable Minimum Shelter Land) must be registered in the boy’s or girl’s name when they are assigned a Unique Identity Number (UIN) and must cease when the individual is no more. In addition to such USML, any Indian who is willing to cultivate for food production (for self or others) must be assured of availability of land on lease or loan. Then only can we really call ourselves a progressive sovereign socialist democratic republic nation as claimed in our constitution.