Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh today gave the nod to bring the draft bill on tenancy laws to provide an effective mechanism for expeditious disposal of disputes between the lessor and the lessee.While apprising the Chief Minister about the aims and objectives of the draft bill, the Chairman of the Punjab Revenue Commission Justice (Retd.), S.S. Saron said the issue regarding the giving of agriculture land on lease in Punjab had engaged the attention of the land owners/lessors and lessees.Appreciating the Bill, the Chief Minister hoped that it would go a long way in safeguarding the interests of farmers, besides maintaining a balance in the relationship of the lessor with the lessee, as also restore the mutual trust and confidence in their dealings.Saron further said that there had been several changes in agrarian relations over the recent years, which have changed the concept of traditional tenancy to a primarily commercial one. A booming land leasing market has emerged in Punjab, which covers a quarter of the total cultivated area. The lease of land at present is mostly oral, which is a sign of lack of trust and confidence in the existing laws.The lessors, while leasing out their land, generally do not show or reflect the lessee to be in occupation of the land leased to him.
This is because the lessor has a strong apprehension that in case it is so recorded, his ownership rights might get adversely affected and he might have to engage in protracted litigation. The lessee also suffers since he is unable to get crop loan and claim relief for any damage to the crops.Explaining other salient features of the draft bill, the Chairman told Captain Amarinder that the draft Bill envisages removal of barriers against investment, besides helping in adoption of new technology on the leased land and introduce cultivation of high-value crops so as to usher in higher productivity and prosperity for sustainable agriculture.The Bill would also encourage new forms of organization in agriculture, such as corporate cultivation, cooperatives/group production, self-help groups (SHGs), partnership including Limited Liability Partnerships, farmers' producer organizations and others, to make agriculture a viable and sustainable occupation for small and marginal farmers as well.Notably, certain extant laws have outlived their utility and now are impediments to improvement in land and crop diversification, resulting in low farm income. It is, therefore, considered imperative to open up the farming and agriculture sector to improve investment and technology by liberalization of tenancy laws. This would promote efficient use of resources, occupational diversification including employment opportunities and equity, and would lead to rapid sustainable rural transformation.The Commission would be reviewing these legislations and suggesting repeal or need-based changes to improve the farm sector and land relations in Punjab, said the Chairman.