Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Allow free market in land and natural resource too

Indian big business has been at best only a partial advocate of free enterprise. The demand by industry for government to acquire cheap land on its behalf is disappointing. I read a recent article by CII chairman Adi Godrej in Times of India. Right to Property which used to be a fundamental right in our original constitution before it was removed to supposedly allow government to under take projects for public good. Recently it is being recognized as a basic human right even by a Supreme Court Bench in 2008. The father of Classical Liberalism John Loche himself believed that right to property was an unalienable right. No where in the capitalist economies of the developed world, governments participate in land acquisition for private industry. Yes our business men sight that 'Indian realities are different' when ever it suits them.

I may not believe on all the new-liberal policies but I always believed that the ownership of the land that the population has the possession of the land they work on is older than the existence Indian Republic itself. So when I read about John Loche's argument that "property precedes government and government cannot dispose of the estates of the subjects arbitrarily". Then I agree with him completely. Unfortunately the industry with its demand for the government to acquire farm land and literally 'gift' the land to businesses in the form of cheap land as 'incentive' to set up business units.

My opinion on Mr Adi Godrej's article is that on an issue like agricultural land, the industry should be open to pay the market rate and rehabilitation costs like true free market participants. On coal block allocation when the entire process has been suspect rebidding would be the only just way out to ensure nobody got unjust benefits.

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