How Karnataka let Non Agriculturists buy Agriculture land

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The state Cabinet has resolved to alter the Karnataka Land Reforms Act, 1961, to allow non-agriculturists to purchase agricultural land and to eliminate the ceiling on revenue from non-agricultural sources. It has also increased the number of land units that can be owned by a single person.

On July 13, 2020, the Karnataka Land Reforms (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 was signed into law. It modifies the 1961 Karnataka Land Reforms Act. The Act attempted to bring together and make uniform regulations in the state regarding I agricultural land purchase and holding, (ii) ownership and occupancy rights, and (iii) agricultural land holdings ceilings. Existing limits on owning agricultural land, who can acquire it, and the amount of land one can own are all eased by the Ordinance.

The following are some of the significant adjustments that will be made:

Holdings of agricultural land are limited.

A individual who is not a member of a family or a family of up to five persons who is not a member of a family can only own 10 units of agricultural land under the Act. This limit has been raised to 20 units by the Ordinance.

One acre of A-Class property with a certain soil classification value constitutes one unit. A-class lands are those with adequate irrigation (through government canals and tanks) to support the production of two paddy harvests or one sugarcane crop per year. The Ordinance raises the cap from 20 to 40 units for families with more than five members. In addition, the ceiling area for a tenant engaged in aquaculture in the districts of Uttara Kannada and Dakshina Kannada has been extended from 40 to 80 units.

There is no restriction on the purchase of agricultural land:

The Act makes it illegal to sell agricultural land to those with a guaranteed annual income of Rs 25 lakh or more from non-agricultural sources. On a retroactive basis, the Ordinance repeals this clause.

There is no restriction on some people owning agricultural land.

Only a person cultivating land personally is allowed to hold land under the Act. Several other entities are likewise prohibited from owning land under the Act. Educational, religious, or benevolent organisations, trusts, societies, corporations, and associations are examples of these entities. This provision is likewise repealed retroactively under the Ordinance.

Transfer restrictions on certain lands

Non-agriculturists, agriculturists exceeding authorised land holding ceiling restrictions, and non-agricultural labourers are all prohibited from purchasing or transferring agricultural land under the Act. The Ordinance now only allows land to be transferred if it is an A-Class irrigated property that is not being utilised for agriculture, or if a person is beyond the permissible ceiling area limitations on agricultural land holding.

Lands allocated to Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes are subject to restrictions.

The Karnataka Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prohibition of Transfer of Certain Lands) Act, 1978, provides that any revisions to the Act will not impact the rights to land awarded to SC/ST during the prohibition period.

A prohibition on the sale or mortgage of agricultural land has been imposed.

The Ordinance specifies that only certain government entities, enterprises, and cooperative societies shall be allowed to mortgage agricultural land. Amidst them are the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation, Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited, Karnataka Housing Board, Industrial Areas Development Board, and a banking institution.

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