Journal : Global Times (Chinese) Date : Author : Zhou Liangchen Page No. : 11
URL : http://www.jdqu.com/read-672479-11.html

Economic data released by the Indian government on Aug 31 shows the country’s GDP growth rate in second quarter of the year is 7%, lower than the number of last quarter which is 7.5%. Although the growth rate gives light of hope for emerging markets, India’s economic reform is still facing great obstacles. Starting from Sep 1st, the draft of the amendment of India’s Land Law was announced ineffective after going through a 5-month tumultuous discussion. Last Sunday, Modi’s government announced: “After all the efforts, the draft fails to win support from the opposite party as well as the general peasants who are worried about the rumors and afraid that their lands may be deprived. Regarding the current situation, it’s not necessary to continue promoting the draft.” Reuters commented that this was the first time that Modi admitted the failure of land reform in the country which would inevitably hinder the transition process of India’s economic industrialization.

 

Sell land for a better living?

 

The new government which came into power last year had amended the 2003 version of Land Law to make it more adapted to the need of Modi’s economic reform. On this April, the lower house of India’s parliament passed the draft of the amendment of the Land Law, which stipulated that the government could purchase “public land” for the construction of industrial corridor, highway and railway network without the permission of peasants, and the government would give every peasant’s household a job quota in the factory. Besides, similar land acquisition projects were allowed to skip tedious social and environmental assessment procedures to speed up the progress of the projects.

 

Opposite parties in India lashed out at the new version of Land Law as soon as it came out. They considered it a coercive draft to acquire agricultural land which would inevitably deprive peasants of their basic means of production. Reporter of Global Times found that most peasants in villages in Haryana, a state near New Delhi, held opposite view toward the new Land Law. They considered that acquisition shouldn’t happen without discussions. Laldanny is an officer in charge of land trade in the Asada village committee. He has been in the position for 20 years. Laldanny told PD: “the land trade volume was big in previous years but it has been declining in rencent few years. Many peasants realized that the earnings they got from selling the land couldn’t help them live a better life in cities because they may not find good jobs there.”

 

From the perspective of Laldanny, for most local villagers, income is the only problem because you still own the land, but if you don’t have any land, you are facing poverty. However, some peasants did benefit from the industrial transition process. They got jobs in factories and bought new land with compensation.

 

Hinder India’s industrial transition

 

Opposite parties representing by the Indian National Congress welcomed Modi government’s “backward”, regarding it “a success of peasants” and that Modi’s “industry-friendly” new land policy should not based on the deprival of peasants’ benefits. Indian media who have been following the issue considered the result “within expectation” and that Modi’s “industry-friendly” reform measures would inevitably encounter obstacles in India’s traditional agricultural society. Meanwhile, gaining support from the large number of peasants was the premise of a stable government.

 

Laldanny said, according to the current Land Law, “Acquiring land for private projects needs to be approved by 80% of families concerned in the deal. For public-private joint projects, you need the approval of over 70% of the land owners.” It is not easy for villagers to reach collective agreement.

 

Land reform suffered a setback, so is logistics

 

For foreign-owned enterprises who want to invest and build companies in India, the land reform setback will, to some extent, have impact on the investment efficiency. But generally, most of the enterprises are not expecting the problem to be solved overnight. Reporter of GT found during interviews with Chinese company owners in many parts of India that different companies take different measures to solve the land problem. Some bought land from the local government; some made use of “semi-finished” development zone; some went directly to Indian markets by means of buying out companies, amalgamating or reorganizing. Since India owns large land resources and the government is not facing a shortage of industrial land, the most important thing for foreign-owned enterprises to invest in India is whether the products are connected to the market. The land issue comes next.

 

And another thing is the cost of logistics. India is backward in its infrastructure and the road conditions are bad. Besides, the railway and highway network runs in low efficiency. To improve and construct national transportation network, it is a must to acquire agricultural land in different states. This is also the original intention of the Indian government to launch the new Land Law. But now the land reform suffered a setback, which would certainly be considered as a major economic loss of India’s economic reform.

 

印度承认强征式“土改”失败

印度政府8月31日公布第二季度GDP增速为7%,低于上一季度的7.5%。虽然印度这一增速给新兴市场带来希望,但是印度国内经济的改革依然面临很大阻力。9月1日起,历时5个月、闹得沸沸扬扬的印度《土地法》修改草案宣布失效。作为这一草案的主要推动方,莫迪政府上周日宣布,“经过3次努力,这一草案仍不能得到反对党的认可,广大农民更受谣言影响而惧怕他们的土地被剥夺。在这种情况下,该草案已没有强行推进的必要”。英国路透社评论称,这是莫迪首度承认土改失败,而这必将阻碍印度经济工业化的转型进程。

卖地能过上好生活?

去年印度新政府执政以来,修改2003年版《土地法》,使其更适应工业化用地需求成为莫迪经济改革的攻坚重点。今年4月,印度下院通过《土地法》修改草案,规定印度工业走廊建设以及高速公路、铁路网建设等“公共用地”,政府可不经农户许可以市场价收购,同时补偿给农户每家一个工厂工作名额。该草案还规定此类征地项目可以免去繁琐的社会及生态环境评估,用以加快项目推进的速度。

印度新版《土地法》修改草案出台之后,立即受到印度各反对党的抨击,后者认为这一草案强征农业用地,必然导致大批农民失去基本的生产资料。《环球时报》记者在新德里毗邻的哈里亚纳邦农村采访时发现,当地农民普遍对新土地法持反对态度,认为无论如何不应不经商量直接征地。拉尔丹尼是当地阿塔萨村村委会中负责土地交易的专员,他在这个岗位上已经工作了20年。拉尔丹尼对记者说:“前些年土地交易量还比较大,但近两年交易量在下降,更多农民认识到从卖地获得的收入并不能让他们在城市中过上好的生活,而且城市也不能给农民提供合适的就业,失去土地的农民很快就会转贫。”

在拉尔丹尼眼中,对多数当地村民来说,有土地的生活只存在收入问题,没土地的生活就是贫困问题。不过,也有不少农民从工业化转型中取得好处,他们不仅获得在工厂工作的机会,还利用补偿款在其他地方购置了新的土地。

阻碍印度工业转型

以国大党为首的印度反对党对莫迪政府的“后退”表示欢迎,认为这是“农民的胜利”,莫迪政府“工业友好型”的新土地政策不能以剥夺农民的利益为代价。长期跟踪报道《土地法》修改草案的印度媒体普遍对如今的结果表示“意料之中”,认为莫迪“工业友好型”的改革举措在仍旧传统的印度农业社会必然遭遇阻力,印度庞大的农民群体是否支持关系到政府的稳定。

据拉尔丹尼介绍,依照现行的《土地法》,“征用的土地用于私营项目必须获得80%受影响家庭的同意,公私合营项目须得到70%以上土地所有者同意”,村民集体达成这些条款并不容易。

土改遇挫,物流受阻

对希望在印度投资设厂的外资企业来讲,《土地法》改革受阻在一定程度上影响其投资效率,但总体来讲,多数外资企业并不指望这一问题能一蹴而就。《环球时报》记者在印度多地采访中国企业时发现,各个企业都因地、因时、因规模采取不同的拿地方案,有的是向当地政府买地,平地起高楼,有的则是利用“半成品”的开发区,更有的是以收购、兼并、重组等方式直接杀入印度市场。在土地面积广阔、政府掌握的工业用地并不紧缺的前提下,外企赴印投资的重点仍是产品是否对路,工厂用地问题是其次。

值得一提的是物流成本,印度各地基础建设落后,道路条件很差,铁路公路交通网运输效率极低,改造和兴建全国交通网势必涉及跨邦农业土地征用,而这也是印度政府推行新《土地法》的重要初衷。此番“土改”遇挫,必然被看作是印度经济改革的重要损失。▲

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