(Liberation News Service; October 14, 2012)


Landless and Shelterless Poor to get agricultural land, homestead rights, fast track courts, free legal aid, effective implementation of PESA and Forest Rights Act through a time bound program!!


Request to send emails / faxes to Prime Minister to thank and urge for Implementation in Letter and Spirit. Read more….


The Historic March of over 50000 landless poor that started from Gwalior on 3rd October 2012 and was to swell to a record 100,000 upon reaching New Delhi on 28th October moved the Government of India to accept the demands of Jan Satyagraha within 9 days! The Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) GoI, signed an agreement with Jan Satyagraha today, 11thOctober 2012 accepting to address the major demands raised by the Marchers and committing to s 10 point action Plan within an agreed time frame.


We also thank hundreds of organisations across India who have positively responded to the call of Jan Satyagrah to organise rallies and meetings in their villages, towns and cities on 17thOctober 2012 (International Day for Elimination of Poverty) to present a Memorandum to the Prime Minister of India for a Pro Poor National Land Reforms Policy.


Though the agreement is reached, pressure has to be continued on the Government to ensure its implementation as agreed. Hence we request all civil society organisations and concerned citizens to email or fax a representation addressed to the Prime Minister of India and Minister for Rural Development appreciating the agreement reached and urging that all steps for its complete and time bound implementation should be put in place. Draft of the representation is available here


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.


In light of this Agreement Jan Satyagraha agreed to discontinue its present march and work with the (contact: Mazher Hussain Ravi Badri: 07382668804)

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