Two senior executives of the Tata group have once again brought up one of the trickiest issues in India public policy: how to acquire land for industry.
Group chairman Ratan Tata said in Mumbai on Monday that the country’s political leadership has to “define and reconcile between cultivated land and industrial land” and then added, “More often than not, conflicts related to land are promoted by individuals who do not belong to that area but who have other political motives.”
Meanwhile, Tata Steel managing director H.M. Nerurkar said in Kolkata on the same day that vested interests were slowing the construction of the firm’s steel project in Orissa.
They should know: Group company Tata Motors had to face strong protests in Singur against the Nano plant. India needs more industry to pull people out of dead-end farm jobs, but projects are being held up by protesting farmers.
But the micro reality is important as well. Farmers need incentives to part with their land—either higher prices or guaranteed jobs.