Victory to millions of Landless and Homeless people: The Indian Government agreed to commit to major land reform
October 11th 2012 marked a memorable day in the history of land rights in India. An agreement reached between Jan Satyagraha and the Indian government is expected to result in a major policy change on land rights and land distribution, benefitting the poorest population segments in this country,
adivasis, dalits and many other marginalised groups. The Minister of Rural Development, Mr. Jairam Ramesh handed over a signed agreement and voiced a strong personal commitment to push for the implementation of the agreed upon road map and institutional arrangements .
Gist of the Agreement:
Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) Government of India in a Historic Agreement signed with Jansatyagrah on 11th October 2012 at Agra has agreed to initiate appropriate processes- including exhorting and supporting the states where ever necessary (as Land Reforms is a State Subject)- within the next 4 to 6 months to attain the following:
1. Formulation of a National Land Reforms Policy with inputs from the draft prepared by Jan Satyagrah and involvement of civil society organisations.
2. Initiate dialogue with states to provide Statutory backing for provision of agricultural land and Homestead Rights to the landless and shelter less poor of rural areas, all over the country.
3. Double the unit cost to enable provision of and guarantee 10 cents of land as homestead to every landless and shelter less rural poor household.
4. Issue detailed advisories to the states for enhanced Land Access and Land Rights for the poor, marginalized and deprived landless: and to take up a time-bound programme for securing their access to land.
5. Establish Fast Track Land Tribunals / Courts for speedy disposal of the cases pending and extend legal aid to all the persons belonging to socially deprived sections in matters of land litigation.
6. Effective Implementation of Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA): by empowering the Gram Sabhas to exercise all the powers given to them.
7. Effective implementation of Forest Rights Act: in the light of the revised rules and directives issued by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs on 13th September 2012 and in accordance with suggestions received from civil society organisations.
8. Resolution of Forest and Revenue Boundary Disputes by setting up joint teams of Forest and Revenue Departments to undertake a thorough survey of the forest and revenue boundaries. The Gram Panchayats and Gram Sabhas will be fully involved in the survey and settlement process.
9. Support the States to carry out survey of Common Property Resources (CPRs) with the direct involvement of the Gram Sabha and the Gram Panchayats concerned and ensure full implementation of recent Supreme Courts’ directions on this matter.
10. Immediately set up a Task Force on Land Reforms headed by the Union Minister for Rural Development to implement the above agenda. Members of the Task Force will include representatives of MoRD, state governments, civil society organisations and all stakeholders concerned.
The agreement also mentions mechanisms and recommendations to ensure implementation of these new policies, such as fast land tribunals, to solve the numerous pending cases, or the setting-up of a task force on land reforms headed by the Minister of Rural Development and including civil society organisations, in charge of implementing the points of the agreement. This task force will hold its first meeting on October 17 th in Delhi.
The full text of the agreement can be found at
Agreement- GoI & Jan Satyagraha (In English)