ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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An Open Invite for Corporate Farming

Punjab’s Draft Land Leasing Bill

The rationale behind Punjab’s land leasing draft bill is examined from a smallholder/landless tenant’s perspective, and implications for the lease land markets of Punjab if the draft bill is enacted in a law are discussed.

In line with a series of agricultural marketing reforms suggested by the union government, Punjab has am­en­ded its long-pending Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act on the lines of the Model Agriculture Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitation) (APLM) Act, 2017, early in 2020 (Singh 2020) and is on the road to amend its land leasing law in line with the Niti Aayog prescribed act (Niti Aayog 2016). Punjab, which was not at all keen to amend agricultural marketing and land laws for all these years since the 2003 Model APMC Act due to its local politics and political economy of the agricultural sector, is now keen on amending the land leasing law as a result of a commission appointed for the same some time back. The commission seems to have designed the act in line with the Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act, 2016. The draft Punjab Land Leasing and Tenancy Bill, 2019, is intended to open up the land lease market in Punjab. The bill once enacted into a law would replace the following acts related to land in Punjab: (i) the Punjab Tenancy Act, 1887 (Act 16); (ii) the Punjab Colonisation of Government Lands Act, 1912; (iii) the Punjab Occupancy Tenants (Vesting of Proprietary Rights) Act, 1952 (Act 8 of 1953); (iv) the Punjab Security of Land Tenures Act, 1953 (Act 10); (v) the Pepsu Occupancy Tenants (Vesting of Proprietary Rights) Act, 1954 (Act 18); and (vi) the Pepsu Tenancy and Agriculture Lands Act, 1955 (Act 13).

This article examines the context and rationale of the draft bill and highlights its major weaknesses and poor understanding of the local context, from a smallholder or landless tenant farmer’s perspective. It also compares major aspects of the draft bill with the Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act. More importantly, it discusses the major implications for the lease land markets of Punjab if the draft bill is enacted in a law as such. The next section details out the context of the lease market in Punjab followed by critiques of the major provisions of the draft bill.

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Updated On : 1st Aug, 2021
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