Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on Thursday met Jan Satyagraha activists in Agra and signed an agreement committing that the government will draft a national land reforms policy within six months.
The activists,demanding land reforms for the poor,began their march from Gwalior on October 2,and had threatened to proceed to Delhi from Agra if the government didnt accept their demands.
The MoRD will initiate a dialogue with states immediately and put out a draft of this policy for public debate in the next four-six months and to be finalised soon thereafter, the agreement said,adding the policy will be prepared in consultation with the Ekta Parishad of Jan Satyagraha and other civil society groups.
Ramesh said a task force,headed by him,would be set up to prepare the draft policy. It would have its first meeting on October 17.
Jan Satyagraha leader P V Rajagopal welcomed the deal,but said they would assemble again in Agra and march to Delhi if nothing happens in six months.
The Centre agreed to consult states since land reform is mostly their responsibility for setting up tribunals for speedy disposal of cases pending in revenue and judicial courts. Legal aid will be extended to all persons belonging to socially deprived sections,whose lands are involved in litigation,particularly Dalits and tribals, the pact read.
In the next two months,the Centre will issue advisories to states to focus on implementation of laws to protect land rights of Dalits and tribals.