In geography there is interesting technique called spatial analysis. Spatial analysis focuses on a particular location to gain a deeper understanding of data ex. income distribution across India or density of roads/railways in India.
Spatial analysis along with statistical and economic data will show that almost 60% of Indian population is dependent on agriculture, while its contribution to nation’s GDP is only 15%, in other words we have a huge population that is underemployed or unemployed. Almost 50% of Indian population is under 25 years of age.
In other words we need jobs, food, homes for millions. Manufacturing and services can generate huge employment. Government’s capacity to generate employment is limited so dependence on entrepreneurs is high.
Take example of spatial grid shown below. Spatial analysis shows that to reach from one point to another point is takes 120 kms (assume each side of square is 10 kms), if you take any route- red, blue or yellow, distance is same. If you want to travel faster you need to construct a new route – green, which will be 85 kms.
Now if entrepreneur decides to construct this road, he will definitely generate employment.But this won’t be an easy task for him. First he will have to struggle with various ministries to get necessary clearances, next he has to acquire necessary land, then once construction is over and if he does not get next another project, he will be left will surplus staff which he cannot easily retrench under existing labour law.
Indian government has to accept reality and come up with strategies to deal with loss of land in case of farmers and loss of jobs in case of workers.
Our members of parliament, social activist and intellectuals are busy with strategies on how to block the land acquisition bill. Even under existing provisions the entrepreneur will have to pay 4 times the existing value to acquire land, now opposition wants to make acquisition laws so stringent, that no entrepreneur will be interested in executing projects.
Issue here is not of land acquisition, but so see that farmer gets reasonable compensation and also help him on how to wisely use that money. Many farmers waste money in drinking, costly weddings, buying cars etc. NGOs can play an important role here.
As far as workers are concerned, under existing labour laws, only way to compensate for job loss is through VRS (Voluntary Retirement Scheme). Trade unions have more or less accepted this reality. Problems faced by workers after getting compensation amount is same as those of farmers, they end up wasting money in drinking, weddings etc.
Instead of opposing land acquisition and retrenchment, unions and political parties should concentrate on helping farmer or worker in using compensation money wisely.