New Delhi, Nov 24:

Only a handful of states of the country have started working to enact a model agricultural land leasing law for better utilisation of assets in rural areas, the NITI Aayog said on Friday.

The policy think tank of the central government came up with a law in this regard in 2016, but till now it had not found many takers, NITI Aayog Additional Secretary Yaduvendra Mathur said.

Only a few states such as Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Telangana have made moves to amend their laws in this regard, Mathur said.

“It is a state subject, not a central subject and we can only recommend,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the 12th Environment Partnership Summit organised by the Indian Chambers of Commerce here.

The Niti Aayog came up with the Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act, 2016 to permit and facilitate leasing of agricultural land to improve access to land by landless and marginal farmers. The law also has provisions for recognition of farmers cultivating on leased land to enable them to access loans through institutional credit. There are a number of restrictions in the current land leasing system and an amendment would make a strong land leasing mechanism, the senior NITI Aayog official said.

Turning to environmental issues, Mathur said he had suggested housing societies to buy an electric bus each, which can be used to ferry the residents to the nearest Metro station and park the bus in the society’s compound at night.

“This is a doable model for shifting to cleaner energy,” he said. Mathur, however, admitted that purchasing an electric bus is a costly affair, particularly for those that are using solar panels to electrify areas within the compound.

Earlier in his lecture at the summit, Mathur urged corporate bodies to focus on improvement of the education, health and sanitation conditions of the people in their CSR projects.

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