India’s Undisclosed Scam

Improper enforcement of the contract, followed by the lackadaisical attitude of the political establishment, has stagnated the development of India’s economy. Not only this but the primary reason behind India’s “gradual growth” is her development model which is inherently impractical.

In 1950, she imitated USSR thinking and adopted socialism model and messed up the economy. In 1991, she liberalised the economy without annihilating the conventional structures. She recovered from the hangover of ‘license raj’ period (1950-1991) but it seems that the economy continues to be addicted to the socialism features even today.

Titles of the government change every 5 years, but the style of governance continues to be the same. Taking a cue from our Asian Tigers, India continues to ignore learning basic economic lessons in this regard. In this context, property rights, land rights, privacy, economic liberties, etc. continue to behold the ignorance of critical introspection.

Like basic necessities (food, clothing, shelter, education, and now the Internet), an economy also has few vital necessities. To create more cities and jobs, the land is a salient component.

Spices at market

The secondary reason behind India’s “jobless growth” is her willful ignorance of the unused lands. No government has done any mammoth exercise of collecting data on unused lands in India till date. Whichever party came to power was busily immersed in communal politics and socialism economics. Unless the unused lands are not monetised, the economy cannot beget employment opportunities and urbanisation.

Without urbanisation, India’s labor-oriented economy will collapse.

Cities are the engines of growth.

In the coming years, if India affords to undermine tapping of the coherent thinking then the future generation will pay the higher price for nothing because the unaccountable economy continues to live at the expense of everyone else.


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Tea Plantation

Most of the land in India is owned by the Public Sector Units. In total, there are 298 central public sector enterprises (CPSEs). 58 units are sick among them. These CPSEs are anyway backed by the taxes and operational profits. Yes, their losses are socialised because CPSEs are not private and accountable entities. These CPSEs own 10 lakh acres of surplus land. If monetised or economised, the land can create many cities, assets and jobs. It is unfortunate to learn that the government does not have any central portal that registers the data and property titles of the unused lands.

Such a lackadaisical behaviour tells a lot about the intention of the government. On the other hand, it is commonly understood that land is not a scarce commodity anymore.

What is scarce is the generation of good ideas.

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Other things being equal, CPSEs do not really know the quantity, volume and value of their own saleable lands and leases. Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) could be in the position to unlock the real value of the unused land owned by the Indian Railways but they too lack sufficient clarity of the whole picture. Anyway, as per the SCOPE (standing committee of public enterprises) report, the operational profit of CPSEs is unable to cross Rs. 25 lakh crore due to poor investments in the sector.

The taxpayers receive a contribution from CPSEs up to Rs. 1.6 lakh crore every year, which is lesser than the amount that per individual contributes to the government in form of taxes. In this whole saga, the cost of maintaining the unused lands is now higher than the price of selling it.

Who is responsible and accountable for it?

Under the “Land Acquisition Act” (a.k.a. Land Extortion Act), the government continues to arrogate the land and property rights of the individuals since 1978. This has added to the advantage of the government to expropriate the land without timely compensation and artificial rates. Just because the media doesn’t report the saga mentioned in this article as ‘scam’, does not alter the apocryphal of the term ‘scam’.

The government of India does not have any incentive to look after the unused lands since it continues to enjoy a monopoly on legislating your homestead property and berating your economic freedom. Unused lands continue to be an undisclosed scam because it manifests the unseen side of governmental economics.


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