With increased opposition from farmers over arbitrary allocation of farm land for Special Economic Zone (SEZ) industrialization, the federal government seems to have evolved a formula where the dispossessed farmers may co-own SEZs.
According to the new plan, the disposed farmer will get 750 days minimum wages in addition to the low notional cost of land-since most of land sale is done in cash (called "black money"), the registered value is very low and that is the compensation meted out to farmers. Beside, the farmer also gets a 20% worth of total wages in shares in the SEZ. All these sweeteners are in addition to the existing policy of providing comparable land, relocation costs to be incurred by the company or government, besides giving a family member a job. The federal cabinet is to review this proposal as part of the non-existent rehabilitation and resettlement policy that is expected to remove local opposition to economic development.
While this is a major improvement from the previous policy of grabbing land closest to politician holdings, it is still short of parameters and guidance values that should direct state government behavior. For instance, a farmer holding land near a city such as Bangalore will find compensation offered by the new policy vastly lower than market rates. The fundamental issue is an overall blueprint for development where SEZs are one part of the equation. With the absence of an overall blueprint, the SEZ location will be haphazard and so will development.