Institute for Studies in Industrial Development (ISID) organized a One-day National Workshop on “Industrialization and Land Acquisition: Challenges for Inclusive Development” on 22 February 2013. The purpose of the workshop was to get a better grip of one of the most controversial issues regarding industrialization in recent times. At the outset Prof. M.R. Murthy, Director ISID welcomed all the speakers and participants and spoke about the plan to take up research project on this important topic. Shri T.N. Chaturvedi, Chairman ISID inaugurated the workshop and underlined the importance of the issue in the context of industrialization. Prof. S.K. Goyal, Vice-Chairman, ISID mentioned the importance of doing research on issues that affects people at large. The background paper of the workshop was presented by Dr Satyaki Roy, ISID. The paper put forward the major conceptual problems and debates related to land acquisition and industrialization and also that related to conceiving a ‘just’ compensation.
In the first session Dr Walter Fernandez (Director, NESRC) argued that over-emphasizing growth and moving away gradually from Gandhian path of self-sustainability gave rise to a greed that threatened livelihood of a large section of the population. Prof. Utsa Patnaik (formerly at CESP, JNU) located the issue of land acquisition in the context of growing concentration of land and rising inequality. She underlined that the crisis in the agrarian sector is primarily triggered by excessive emphasis on fiscal consolidation that resulted in withdrawal of the state in agriculture. She proposed an ‘asset for asset’ exchange in the case of land transfer as it has been the usual practice in other cases of asset transfer. Dr Rajesh Bhattacharya, South Asian University discussed the land question and the issue of dispossession caused by large land grab. He also mentioned that the conventional binaries such as public-private and state-market are not the appropriate analytical tools to analyse the problems related to accumulation. Prof. Hariharan Ramchandran, ICSSR National Fellow at ISID discussed how industrialization is essentially linked to a process of urbanization and that requires a planned effort to acquire land. The session was chaired by Prof. T.S. Papola, ICSSR national fellow at ISID who at the end made interesting remarks which could be pointers for further research.
In the second session Prof. Anjan Chakraborty, Calcutta University, discussed the issue of land acquisition in the context of West Bengal. He put forward the political economy of the changes that took place in the state and especially the shift in perspectives on land on the part of the Left. Dr Lancy Lobo, Director, Centre for Culture & Development (CCD), Vadodara elaborated the continuous process of land acquisition and accompanying displacement in Gujarat. Dr Arindam Banerjee, Ambedkar University, Delhi talked about the changing historical patterns of land use in a global scale and how displacement is caused in agriculture besides drive for industrialization. Prof. Sucharita Sen, CSRD, JNU, talked about the spatial distribution of SEZs in India and referred to micro-level studies that show the consequences of land acquisition and the resulting patterns of livelihood. The session was chaired by Prof. Hariharan Ramchandran. In the third session Shri M.M.K. Sardana as the chair initiated the discussion mentioning the problems of execution and the trust deficit that persists on the question of land acquisition. Col. Divendra Sherawat, Secretary, Delhi Gramin Samaj made an illustrative presentation on the silent process of land acquisition undergoing in and around Delhi. Smt. Smita Gupta, Senior Fellow, Indian School of Women’s Studies Development (ISWSD), New Delhi talked about the lacunae in the proposed bill on land acquisition and rehabilitation. Mr Vinai Kumar Singh, Indian Society of International Law, Delhi also mentioned the legal aspects related to the issue of land acquisition. Apart from the speakers participants from different institutes made valuable comments and enriched the discussion.
Dr Satyaki Roy
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