Modi’s Swamitva Yojana (Rural Property Card Scheme)

The next batch of reform accompanying recent farm bills by the Modi government has arrived in the form of Swamitva Yojana  for the rural people.

Why did I say ‘reform accompanying recent farm bills’? Because combined with those bills and looking at the intentions of this scheme, it looks like the Modi government is readying the corporate takeover of the India’s rural sector. In the launching ceremony of this scheme prime minister Narendra Modi said,

Despite owning houses, people were facing multiple problems while borrowing from banks. These people can now borrow very easily from banks after showing property cards issued under ownership scheme.

Now, is pledging one’s home and farm as a collateral while borrowing money from the banks the only use of one’s property? That seems to be government’s point of view because that is the prime benefit (sic) highlighted by the prime minister in his speech. Looking at this, there are ample reasons to doubt the intention and outcomes of this scheme.

The use of property is not only to pledge it for a collateral. In fact, that is the last resort for most people. The primary use of any property is to use it without any interference as a consumer good i.e., a house is for living and a farm is for farming without pledging it as a collateral for taking loan from any bank.

To reveal how serious Narendra Modi government is about the welfare of the rural people, as the prime minister is claiming while launching this scheme, we need to ask this important question: Will this property be protected against any government forceful acquisition by using the public domain or eminent domain clauses? Meaning, will this title be an allodial title? This is important to understand because property means ownership and ownership means no one else, including the government, can forcefully take away that property from its owner. The owner is the all and sole of his property. There is no other owner above that owner. A true property rights regime will give allodial rights to individuals where even government can’t take away his property by giving one or the other reason of general public use. No nation state i.e., government provides such property rights titles. Part  XII, Chapter IV, Article 300A of the Indian constitution says,

No person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law.

‘Save by authority of law’ means the government can take away our property any time it wants by giving some reason/excuse of general public use! No one in India is a true property owner because we all pay property taxes, which means we are not owners but only tenants and government, to whom we are paying property taxes, is the real final owner of all property.

All the above only means, the naming of this scheme as Swamitva Yojana is a linguistic trick to create a false perception in peoples’ minds that they are the real owners of their property, which obviously is not the case. Swamitva in Hindi means owner/landlord/zamindar. Under the nation state the real Swami (landlord) always is the state i.e., the government.

And why there are ample reasons to doubt the intentions of the government here? Because what will very likely take place now is this: After getting property cards, farmers will have to pledge their homes and farms as a collateral when they will borrow money from the banks for farming or other reasons. We know that the problem of farmers’ defaulting on their loan repayment is already very acute. Many states have already written off millions of rupees of farm loans. Farmers are still demanding such write offs. The erratic nature of Indian agriculture means most farmers make losses and can’t repay their loans. Every year thousands of farmers commit suicide because of this loan default. Now in future if they will default then banks will simply foreclose their homes and farms and will likely sell it to business tycoons to recover their loan amount. Recent farm bills have already made the corporate entry in farming sector possible, and now with this scheme the complete corporate takeover of Indian rural farming sector will be even more easier! Indian farmers will very likely lose their property to banks and corporate houses and will be either forced to commit suicide or become their employees who will work for a  salary in corporate farms.

Conclusion

As long as the state exists, no one can be a true owner/swami of any property in India or elsewhere. The whole idea of government giving property cards to citizens is a contradiction in terms. The state is the biggest property rights violator in the whole human history. That state can’t provide property title to anyone. This Swamitva(स्वामित्व)/ownership scheme in reality will very likely become a Dasatva (दासत्व)/slavery scheme for rural people.   

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