Karnataka opens farmland purchase to all

In a big political move, the Cabinet decided on Thursday to amend the Karnataka Land Reform Act that will allow anyone to own farmland.

The Cabinet also decided to amend the law to increase the ceiling on the area of ​​agricultural land that a person can own.

Until now, non-farmers could not buy agricultural property. Even those from an agricultural background could not purchase agricultural land if their annual non-farm income exceeded Rs 25 lakh. In addition, only educational, religious institutions, businesses, cooperative societies, among other exceptions, could purchase agricultural land.

The Cabinet has decided to repeal Sections 79 (a), (b), (c) and 80 of the Land Reform Act, Justice Minister JC Madhuswamy said, briefing reporters.

“There are a lot of technicians, for example, who have earned well and want to invest in agriculture. On the one hand, because of the existing restrictions, many of those who are interested cannot buy land. on the other hand, even farmers cannot get the right price for their land. Repeal of these articles will ensure a good price for the land. It will also simplify the documentation process,” explained Madhuswamy.

The government will not issue an ordinance for this. An amending bill will be introduced in the next session of the legislature, he said.

The existing provisions run counter to the public interest, said Revenue Minister R Ashoka. “These restrictions have only allowed people to harass buyers, resulting in litigation. Over the past 45 years, approximately 83,171 cases have been recorded for violations of the provisions of Sections 79(a) and (b). Approximately 12,231 cases are still pending in addition, even in cases where the verdict was in favor of the government, we could not recover more than 1% of the land,” he said.

In addition, Deputy Commissioners may authorize the transfer of land to non-farmers based on certain specifications. This paved the way for abuse and fraud, the government said. Now even this provision will be repealed.

“Anyone can buy land in Telangana. We want to create the same atmosphere here. It will also help investment,” Madhuswamy said, adding that many Indian states have removed such provisions.

He further pointed out that since Section 109 was inserted into the law – it deals with investors or industries that buy farmland directly from farmers – the other provisions had become ineffective anyway.

The Council of Ministers decided to modify article 63 of the law, to increase the ceiling of land ownership from 10 units to 20 units for an individual without a family or a family of up to four people; and from 20 units to 40 units for large families of more than five people. One unit is 5.4 acres.

The Cabinet decision was based on the recommendations of a sub-committee headed by Ashoka.

Amalia H. Mercado