Land Reform Policy Of The Government Of India


It is true that technological factors such as fertilisers, HYV seeds, controlled irrigation and scientific implements play an of import function in agricultural development. But ‘institutional factors ‘ such as proprietor or tenant cultivation, absentee landlordism, liability of the agriculturists, etc. besides play a important function in exciting or blockading agricultural growing. In fact, application of engineering in agribusiness itself well depends upon the sort of establishments, which exist in a peculiar part.

The more successful signifiers of peasant agribusiness appear to hold emerged where owner-cultivation was dominant. It is observed that the green revolution engineering has been more successful in ryotwari and mahalwari countries dominated by peasant owners. And since the bing tenurial construction is the consequence of gradual procedure of development, influenced by societal, political and economic factors, it becomes indispensable to look into the procedure of development of tenurial construction.

The chief features of the agricultural construction which independent India inherited were

absentee land ownership ;

development of renters through high rents and insecurity of term of office ;

unequal distribution of land ;

bantam and disconnected retentions ; and

deficiency of equal institutional finance to agribusiness.

On this agricultural construction was imposed a state of affairs in which majority of the agriculturists were short of fixed every bit good as working capital. This resulted in low investings and thereby low outputs in agribusiness.

Agrarian construction is a wide construct consisting land term of office system every bit good as recognition, selling, etc. Therefore agricultural reforms would connote disciplinary steps in land term of office system, recognition and selling. On the other manus, the construct ‘land reforms ‘ is slightly narrower than the above and relates to the disciplinary steps in prevailing land term of office system. Recognition and selling are rather of import for agricultural development.


Land ownership was extremely unequal at the clip of Independence. There was a parasitic category of mediators who played no function in production. On the other manus, the huge bulk of existent agriculturists were either renters or subtenants, without any security of term of office. Harmonizing to the National Commission on Agriculture ( 1976 ) , this was the root cause of the province of chronic crisis in which Indian agricultural economic system was enmeshed before the attainment of Independence.

Before Independence, there were three major systems of land term of office, viz. Zamindari System, Mahalwari System and Ryotwari System. The Zamindari system was introduced by Lord Cornwalis in 1793 through lasting colony that fixed the land rights of zamindars in sempiternity without any proviso for fixed rents or tenancy rights for existent agriculturists. Under the lasting colony, zamindars were found to be more interested in higher rent than in agricultural betterment. During the early 19th century, attempts were made to undo the inauspicious effects of lasting colony and to supply for impermanent colony as a affair of policy. Regulation VII of 1822 Act provided for impermanent colony with proviso for periodic colony in parts of the United Provinces. In the states of Madras and Bombay, ryotwari system was prevailing. Each ryot was recognised by jurisprudence as the owner with the right to reassign or mortgage or sub-let his land. Furthermore, in parts of United Provinces and Punjab, Regulation VII of 1822 Act and Regulation IX of 1833 Act provided for Mahalwari Settlement with the full small town community. This needed each provincial of the small town to lend to entire gross demand of the small town on the footing of the size of keeping. In 1885, the Bengal Tenancy Act was passed with a position to confabulating tenancy rights upon ryots who were in uninterrupted ownership of land for 12 old ages. The renter could non be evicted by the landlord, except by a edict of tribunal. Similarly, the Bihar Tenancy Act of 1885 and Orissa Tenancy Act of 1914 given tenancy rights to renters. Besides, the Madras Tenancy Act of 1908 provided for protection of ryots from eviction every bit long as they paid the rents. However, since bulk of existent agriculturists were live tenants-at-will, these legal steps could non convey much alleviation to the tiller of the dirt.

Although the inauspicious consequence of landlordism on agricultural production was most profound in the provinces of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Orissa, other provinces that were under Ryotwari and Mahalwari Systems besides witnessed the growing of a big figure of mediators with all its inauspicious impact. The leased-in country constituted about 35 per cent of the entire operated country in 1950-51. Most of the rentals were unwritten and renters did non hold legal security of term of office. The rents varied from 50 per cent to 70 per cent of gross green goods. In add-on, renters were frequently asked to supply free labor to landlords. After Independence hence, it became necessary to set about some land reforms steps for taking the feudal character of the agricultural economic system and paving the manner for rapid agricultural growing with societal justness. Broadly talking, the aims of agricultural reforms are as follows:

To alter the unequal and unproductive agricultural construction ;

To take exploitatory agricultural dealingss, frequently known as patron-client relationship in agribusiness,

To advance agribusiness growing with societal justness


After Independence, the Indian National Congress appointed the Agrarian Reforms Committee under the Chairmanship of J.C. Kumarapppa, for doing an in-depth survey of the agricultural dealingss predominating in the state. The commission submitted its study in 1949 which had a considerable impact on the development of agricultural reforms policy in the post-independence period. The commission recommended that all mediators between the province and the tiller should be eliminated and the land must belong to the tiller topic to certain conditions.

The term ‘land reform ‘ refers to reforms undertaken in the land term of office system. The stairss include

abolishment of mediators,

arrested development of ceilings on land retentions and

redistribution of excess land among landless or semi-landless provincials.

Besides, any particular steps adopted to forestall disaffection of tribal land and consolidate fragmented retentions come within the wide definition of agricultural reforms.

Abolition of Mediators

Following the recommendation of Kumarappa Committee, all the provinces in India enacted statute law for the abolishment of intermediary term of offices in the 1950s, although the nature and effects of such statute law varied from province to province. In West Bengal and Jammu & A ; Kashmir, statute law for get rid ofing intermediary term of offices was accompanied by coincident infliction of ceilings on land retentions. In other provinces, mediators were allowed to retain ownership of lands under their personal cultivation without bound being set, as the ceiling Torahs were passed merely in the1960s. As a consequence, there was adequate clip left for the mediators to do legal or illegal transportations of land. Besides, in some provinces, the jurisprudence applied merely to tenant involvements like sairati mahals etc. and non to agricultural retentions. Therefore, many big mediators continued to be even after formal abolishment of zamindari. However, it has been estimated that consequent upon the legal abolishment of mediators between 1950 and 1960, about 20 million agriculturists in the state were brought into direct contact with the Government.

Occupancy Reforms

The Agrarian Reforms Committee recommended against any system of cultivation by renters and maintained that leasing of land should be prohibited except in the instance of widows, bush leagues and handicapped individuals. This point of view received farther strength later in assorted Five Year Plans. Harmonizing to the Second Five Year Plan, abolishment of intermediary term of offices and conveying the renters into direct dealingss with the province would give the tiller of the dirt his rightful topographic point in the agricultural system and supply him with full inducements for increasing agricultural production.

Immediately after Independence, although the major accent was on the abolishment of mediators, certain amendments to the bing occupancy Torahs were made with a position to supplying security to the renters of ex-intermediaries. But these legal steps provoked the landlords to procure mass eviction of renters, sub-tenants and sharecrop farmers through assorted legal and extra-legal devices. The extremely faulty land records, the prevalence of unwritten rentals, absence of rent grosss, non-recognition in jurisprudence of share- sharecrop farmers as renters and assorted punitory commissariats of the occupancy Torahs were utilized by the landlords to procure eviction of all types of renters. To antagonize such a inclination, hence, it became necessary on the portion of the State Governments to ordain or amend the Torahs in the subsequent old ages and supply for equal precautions against illegal eviction and guarantee security of term of office for the tenants-at-will.

Broadly speech production, occupancy reforms undertaken by assorted provinces followed four distinct forms. First, the occupancy Torahs of several provinces including Andhra Pradesh ( Telengana part ) , Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh banned renting out of agricultural land except by certain handicapped classs of landholders, so as to enthrone the ownership of land with the existent tillers. But concealed occupancy continued to be in all these provinces.

Second, the province of Kerala banned agricultural occupancy wholly without holding any exclusion.

Third, States like Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat and Haryana did non ban occupancy as such. But renters after uninterrupted ownership of land for certain specified old ages, acquired the right of purchase of the land they cultivated. However, in all these provinces, renting out by both big and little husbandmans continued. In fact, a inclination towards contrary occupancy in which big husbandmans leased-in land from fringy husbandmans was set in since the coming of green revolution in the sixtiess.

Fourth, provinces like West Bengal, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Andhra country of Andhra Pradesh did non censor leasing-out of agricultural land. But share-croppers were non recognised as renters. The State of West Bengal recognised share-croppers as renters merely with consequence from 1979, with the launching of ‘Operation Barga ” .

About all State Governments provided for the ordinance of rent, demuring Kerala where renting out was wholly prohibited. The regulated or just rent ranged between 1/4th to 1/6th of the green goods. But existent rent remained ever higher than the regulated or just rent. In many topographic points where little and fringy husbandmans leased-in land from big or absentee landholders, the state of affairs continued to be exploitatory, thereby detering the existent tillers to cultivate the land expeditiously.

Ceilings on Land Keeping

The term ‘ceiling on land retentions ‘ refers to the lawfully stipulated maximal size beyond which no person husbandman or farm family can keep any land. Like all other land reforms steps, the aim of such ceiling is to advance economic growing with societal justness. It has been punctually recognised by India ‘s contrivers and policy shapers that beyond a point any big graduated table agriculture in Indian state of affairs becomes non merely uneconomic, but besides unfair. Small farms tend to increase economic efficiency of resource usage and better societal equity through employment creative activity and more just income distribution. Harmonizing to C.H. Hunumantha Rao, little farms offer more chances for employment compared to big farms. Hence, even if big farms produce comparatively more end product per unit of country, they can non be considered more efficient in a state of affairs of widespread unemployment and under-employment prevalent in this state.

In 1959, Indian National Congress ( Nagpur Resolution ) resolved that agricultural statute law to cover limitations on the size of land retentions must be implemented in all provinces by the terminal of 1959. Consequently, all the State Governments demuring north-eastern part imposed ceilings on land retentions in the sixtiess. The provinces of West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir had already imposed ceilings on land retentions along with the Torahs for abolishment of mediators in the early 1950s. However, the Nagpur Resolution of 1959 had important impact as assorted State Governments instantly took to the confirmation of ceiling statute law. The Gujarat Agricultural Land Ceiling Act, 1960 ; The Madhya Pradesh Ceiling on Agricultural Holdings Act, 1960 ; The Orissa Land Reforms Act, 1969, The Uttar Pradesh Imposition of Ceilings on Land Holdings Act, 1960 ; The Bihar Land Reforms ( Fixation of Ceiling Area and Acquition of Surplus Land Act, 1961 ; The Karnataka Land Reforms Act1961 ; The Maharashtra Agricultural Lands ( Ceiling on Holdings ) Act, 1960 ; The Tamil Nadu Land Reforms ( Fixation of Ceiling Land ) Act, 1961 and The Kerala Land Reforms Act, 1963 were some of the consequences of the Nagpur Resolution on Land Reform. However, as the ceiling Torahs were non ratified at the same time with abolishment of zamindari, except in West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir as stated before, several nami and benami transportation of land took topographic point. This reduced the possible ceiling excess land that could be available for redistribution. Besides, several provinces including Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Orissa, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and West

Bengal followed persons as the unit of application for ceiling, while household as the unit of application was adopted in Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.

Bhoodan and Gramdan

The Bhoodan motion was launched in 1951, instantly after the provincial rebellion in Telengana part of Andhra Pradesh, and after some old ages, another motion known as Gramdan came into being in 1957. The aim was to carry landholders and lessees in each concerned small town to abdicate their land rights, after which all the lands would go the belongings of a small town association for the classless redistribution and for intent of joint cultivation. Vinoba Bhave hoped to extinguish private ownership of land through Bhoodan and Gramdan and maintained that the motion would travel a long manner to guarantee the merely redistribution of land, the consolidation of keeping and their joint cultivation.

However, the motion failed to accomplish its targetted aims and the grade of success in regard of both land acquisition and land distribution was really limited.

Of the entire land of about 42.6 hundred thousand estates, received through Bhoodan, more than 17.3 lakh estates were rejected as they were found unfit for cultivation. About 11.9 lakh estates were distributed and 13.4 hundred thousand estates remained to be distributed. In most instances, the small town landlords donated merely those pieces of land which were either unfit for cultivation or were in difference with renters or authorities. In fact, the landlords preferred to portion off with their disputed lands as a via media expression for there was small hope under the bing jurisprudence, of being able to maintain this land with them. Besides, in return for such land contribution, the landlords besides received input subsidies and other installations, which was no less an incentive to portion off with the land unfit for cultivation. Furthermore, while it was provided under the Gramdan motion that private ownership in land is to discontinue, merely the landowners right to sell land was restricted ( though non banned ) , go forthing integral the right of heritage on such lands by the kids.

Protection of Tribal Land

All the concerned provinces ratified Torahs for bar of disaffection of the tribals from land. In all the scheduled countries, land transportation from tribal to non-tribal population was prohibited by jurisprudence. But due to assorted legal loopholes and administrative oversights, disaffection of the tribals from their land continued on a big graduated table. In fact, mortgaging of land to usurers due to indebtedness, poorness and acquisition of tribal land for irrigation, dikes and other public intents were mostly responsible for disaffection of tribal land. Since land is the chief beginning of support for the tribal people and they do non hold much upward mobility, indiscriminate acquisition of tribal land for public intents should be avoided.

Consolidation of Retentions

The term ‘Consolidation of retentions ‘ refers to merger and redistribution of the disconnected land with a position to conveying together all secret plans of land of a agriculturist in one compact block. Due to turning force per unit area of population on land and the limited chances for work in the non-agricultural sector, there is an increasing tendency towards sub-division and atomization of land retentions. This makes the undertaking of irrigation direction, land betterment and personal supervising of different secret plans really hard.

After independency, about all provinces demuring Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura and parts of Andhra Pradesh enacted Torahs for consolidation of retentions. But the nature of statute law and the grade of success achieved varied widely. While in Punjab ( including Haryana ) it was made compulsory, in other provinces jurisprudence provided for consolidation on voluntary footing, if bulk of the land proprietors agreed.

By and large talking, the consolidation acts provided for

prohibition of atomization below standard country,

arrested development of minimal standard country for modulating transportations,

strategies of Consolidation by exchange of retentions,

reserve of land for common countries,

process for payment of compensation to individuals allotted retentions of less market value in exchange,

administrative machinery for transporting consolidation strategies, and

filing of expostulations, entreaties and punishments.

However, due to miss of equal political and administrative support, the advancement made in footings of consolidation of keeping was non really satisfactory, demuring in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh where the undertaking of consolidation was accomplished. But in these provinces, there is a demand for reconsolidation once more due to subsequent atomization of retentions under the population force per unit area.


After Independence there was besides a argument on the pick of farm administration. The Kumarappa Committee ( 1949 ) expressed the position that provincial agriculture would be the most suited signifier of cultivation although little husbandmans should be pooled under a strategy of concerted or joint agriculture. Besides, corporate agriculture and province agriculture was for the development of rescued barren where landless agricultural workers could be settled. Harmonizing to the First Five Year Plan, the formation of co-operative agriculture associations by little holders would guarantee efficient cultivation. The Second Five Year Plan asserted that a measure should be taken for the development of concerted agriculture, so that a significant proportion of land is cultivated on co-operative lines. The Third Five Year Plan agreed to this proposal, but maintained that with the execution of the programme of land reforms, the bulk of agriculturists in India would dwell of peasant proprietary. They should be encouraged and assisted in forming themselves on voluntary footing for recognition, selling, processing, distribution and besides for production.


After Independence, a figure of land reform steps were undertaken in the 1950s and 1960s which were rather radical in nature and impact. As a consequence of abolishment of zamindari, the feudal manner of production came to an terminal. Besides the proportion of country under occupancy declined.

However, occupancy reforms failed to give much positive impact, as a big figure of tenants-at-will were evicted from land. Besides the benefits of consolidation of retentions remained confined to Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh.

Therefore, the first stage of post-independence land reforms in the 1950s and 1960s yielded a assorted consequence. It could be termed successful in the sense that all mediators were abolished which provided the footing for betterment in agricultural productiveness. Nevertheless, the unequal agricultural construction remained in topographic point. In 1953-54 about 8 per cent of the ownership retentions accounted for about 51 per cent of the entire country, while in 1971, approximately 10 per cent of the retentions accounted for 54 per cent of the entire land. While at the all India degree, the Gini coefficient of concentration ratio marginally declined during the 1960s, in several provinces including Bihar, Punjab and Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, it increased. In other words, there was an increasing inclination towards unequal power construction in footings of land ownership. Although the mean size of retentions declined from 2.39 hectares in 1953-54 to 2.21 hectares in 1971, in several provinces, the mean size of big farms increased.


The earliest comprehensive image of the distribution of entire owned country by size categories of ownership retentions has been presented by the National Sample Survey ( 8th Round ) refering to the twelvemonth 1953-54.

In a treatment of the form of landholdings we include here the size distributions of ownership retentions every bit good as of cultivation or operational retentions ( farms ) . By ownership retention is meant the country owned by a individual family. And by cultivation or operational retention is meant the country cultivated or operated by a individual family. ( Operational Holding = Ownership Holding – Land Leased out + Land Leased in ) Ownership retentions every bit good as cultivation retentions may be held either as a individual secret plan of land or as several secret plans scattered at different topographic points. When a retention is held in several scattered secret plans, it is called a ‘fragmented keeping ‘ and the procedure making such retentions is termed ‘fragmentation ‘ . An effort besides has been made here to give a image of the extent of atomization in the agricultural retentions in India.

Our intent is to concentrate attending on the distribution of retentions in the Indian agricultural sector at one or more points of clip between 1947-48 and 1961-62, for such a distribution is non merely an of import facet of the construction of Indian agricultural economic system but may besides explicate the construction of other inputs, in so far as the usage of other inputs is itself influenced by the form of landholdings

Pattern of Ownership Retentions

Concentrating now on the form of ownership retentions, it may be noticed that about 310 million estates of land were estimated to be owned by rural families in 1953- 54. This was about 38.4 per cent of the entire geographical country and 61 per cent of the topographically useable land. A certain proportion of land in the rural countries, no uncertainty, was owned by urban families. The owned country of 310 million estates was held by 66 million families.

The mean size of ownership retentions in the rural countries was therefore merely 4.72 estates. But when we look at the size-distribution of retentions, the state of affairs is found to be far worse. About 22 per cent of the families in the rural countries did non keep any land. These families would be mostly of agricultural laborers who did non have any land, and peculiarly of cultivating little renters. The following 24.9 per cent of the families together held merely 1.4 per cent of the land and each of these held an country less than 1 acre in size. Therefore, about 47 per cent of the families either held no land or held land of country less than one acre. At the other extreme, less than 1 per cent of the families owned among themselves about 16 per cent of the owned country, and the size of each of these retentions was 50 estates and supra. If we add the immediate lower groups besides, so about 3.4 per cent of the families held among themselves 34 per cent of the entire country. In the lowest size group ( 0.01 to 0.99 estates ) the mean size per retention was merely approximately 0.26 acre, while in the size-group over 50 estates the norm was about 87.4 estates. It indicates that the disparity in ownership of landholdings was really high.

The disparity in the distribution of ownership retentions seems to hold been the highest in South India, where the concentration ratio was 0.74 and the lowest in North India and West India, where the concentration ratios were 0.64. The mean size of keeping was the lowest in South India ( about 3.42 estates ) , while it was the highest in Central India ( about 8.29 estates ) .

How far does such utmost inequality in the distribution of ownership retentions affect the agricultural economic system is a inquiry that of course follows. It may be pointed out that, the efficiency of cultivation which depends on appropriate combination of other factors of production with land could, at least in theory, be free from the form of ownership.

Pattern of Operational Retentions

The construct more appropraite to efficiency of agricultural operation is the construct of “ operational ” or “ cultivation ” keeping. This will be considered in this subdivision. Theoretically, even with a really inauspicious distribution of ownership, through a procedure of renting in and renting out, it is possible to hold a form of operational retentions, less inconsistent with the dictates of efficient engineering, or with the demands of the Torahs of returns, or of returns to scale. As a affair of fact, if there was a really small of renting out of land by big proprietors and really small leasing in by little proprietors, the form of operational retentions would look much the same as that of ownership ; and if that were the form of operational retentions, there would be excessively many bantam farms ( operational retentions ) and some farms excessively big for efficient cultivation.


The Union Government in audience with province authoritiess prepared national guidelines for more or less unvarying ceiling Torahs. Following the guidelines all the province authoritiess lowered the ceiling bounds and inter-state fluctuations in the degrees of ceilings every bit good as freedoms granted to assorted classs of land were reduced. Besides, there emerged a unvarying form of ceiling statute law in the state ; the household being now the unit of application in all the provinces.

The ceiling bounds in assorted provinces were approximately 4 hectares of irrigated land capable of bring forthing at least two harvests in a twelvemonth and its equivalent of other classs of land.

The ceiling Torahs enacted in the 1970s were an betterment over the 1s adopted in the 1950s and 1960s.

However, certain classs of land continued to be exempted from ceiling which left range for jurisprudence equivocation through the device of switching lands to the exempted classs.

These included chiefly the undermentioned classs of land:

Land held by spiritual, charitable and educational establishments,

Land for particular cultivation of tea,

Land held by a co-operative agriculture society for feeding a sugar mill ( Assam )

Land under plantations and private wood ( Kerala )

Land belonging to primary co-operative societies ( Himachal Predesh )

Land possessed by commercial projects ( Tamil Nadu )

Furthermore, although household is now the unit of application for the intent of finding the ceiling, the term ‘family ‘ has been defined really loosely in many provinces and the big leagues have been granted separate units in about all the provinces. In other words, even the new ceiling Torahs did non assail the assorted beginnings of jurisprudence equivocation and the inquiry of proper ceiling statute law and its execution has non yet been solved.

Harmonizing to an estimation by the Planning Commission, the new ceiling Torahs should hold resulted in excess land for redistribution. Harmonizing to Rajkrishna, this should hold provided at least 90 per cent of the country required to give any/every landless household a minimal basic retentions. Unfortunately, till September 1998, merely about 7.4 million estates of land were declared excess under the ceiling Torahs of assorted provinces and merely about 5.3 million estates have been redistributed among 5.5 million donees.

About 50 per cent of the donees were members of agenda castes and agenda folks. It may be seen from the tabular array that of the entire ceiling excess land distributed, about fifth part was in the province of West Bengal. Other larger provinces like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have redistributed comparatively smaller country. In short, if a little province of West Bengal could redistribute 10.3 lakh hectares of ceiling excess land, there is no ground for a bigger province like Uttar Pradesh to hold distributed merely 4 lakh hectares of ceiling excess land.

The ceiling Torahs enacted by assorted provinces are frequently non decently defined and hence, there is either jurisprudence equivocation or hold in the execution of the jurisprudence. For illustration, the bing Torahs

make non specifically supply for suo-motto action on benami transportation of land,

make non guarantee right record of land proprietors about ceiling,

make non guarantee penalty for the jurisprudence evaders, and

make non take ownership of the barren for redistribution.

In many instances execution of ceiling Torahs has been hapless because the ceiling Torahs came into struggle with the jurisprudence of heritage. For illustration, before the ceiling jurisprudence was implemented the land was distributed among minor boies, girls and grandsons and granddaughters who are permitted by the jurisprudence of heritage. The available informations suggest that big Numberss of instances related to ceiling excess land are pending in tribunals because of hold in judicial determinations. There are a batch of tribunal instances pending. Furthermore, due to

influence of landlords,

deficiency of administration of possible donees,

deficiency of up-to-date land records, and

manipulative alterations in the categorization of land, the execution of ceiling Torahs has been really slow.

Furthermore, a big portion of the ceiling excess land acquired by the authorities is of inferior quality. The allotees of such land need to put well on land renewal for conveying such land under cultivation. Although there is a centrally sponsored strategy for renewal of such lands, in most provinces, the strategy has non been operationalised because the province authoritiess has to supply equal matching grant.


During the 1970s several province authoritiess amended their occupancy Torahs. In Andhra part of Andhra Pradesh, the amendment of 1974 to tenancy Torahs conferred uninterrupted right of recommencement on land proprietors. The right of recommencement has ceased in the instance of all rentals existing at the beginning of the amending act of 1974, but it continues in regard of future rentals. In Gujarat, the occupancy act was amended harmonizing to which renters who were evicted between 1957 and 1992 were entitled to Restoration. In Jammu & A ; Kashmir, the J & A ; K Agrarian Act of 1976 declared that all rights, rubrics and involvements in land of any individual non cultivated personally after 1971 shall be vested in the province free from all encumberances with consequence from 1973. The Act provided for bestowal of right of renter after leting the occupant land proprietor to restart land for personal cultivation provided his one-year income does non transcend

Rs. 500 per month and the renter is left with no less than 2 standard estates of land.

The Government of Karnataka amended the Land Reform Act 1961 in 1973, which provided for fastness of term of office topic to landlords right to restart half the leased country. In 1979 the occupancy jurisprudence was further amended which banned leasing-out except by soldiers and mariner and conferred ownership right on a big figure of renters. In Uttar Pradesh an amendment to the occupancy jurisprudence was made in 1977. Harmonizing to this, Sirdars demuring those settled on vacant land were declared as Bhumidars with movable rights. In West Bengal, the jurisprudence on acquisition and colony of homestead land ( amendment act 1972 ) provided that renters of homestead lands would be given full right provided an application was made up to August 1974. Besides, the authorities of West Bengal launched ‘Operation Barga ‘ for entering the portion cropping occupancy in 1978. It has been estimated that about 14 lakh share-croppers were conferred with lasting heritable right.

In fact, the impact of such particular run for acknowledging and entering the land rights of portion sharecrop farmers is said to hold yielded positive impact on agricultural productiveness and poorness decrease in the province.


After execution of land reforms, it was expected that there will be a singular alteration in the agricultural construction in footings of decrease in the concentration of land retentions and betterment in the economic conditions of hapless renters. However, the available informations indicate that inequality in the ownership of land retentions has non declined much over clip. During 1971 to 1992 the Gini ratio of inequality remained changeless at 0.71. In a figure of provinces including Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & A ; Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Rajasthan there was an addition in the concentration ratio of land retentions which indicates that the land reform steps have been largely uneffective in cut downing the degree of rural inequality.

The proportion of landless families increased from 9.6 % in 1971 to 11.3 % in 1992 ( NSSO 48th Round, Report No. 399 ) . During the same period the proportion of leased in country declined from 11.6 % in 1971 to 8.3 % in 1992. However, in many provinces since occupancy is lawfully banned hidden occupancy exists. In the province of Bihar, for illustration, the incidence of occupancy is reported to be above 30 % . Therefore, the agricultural construction seems to be as unequal and unproductive as earlier.


The care of up-to-date land records is of import non merely for effectual execution of land records, but besides for harmonising the procedure of overall rural transmutation. During the Seventh Five Year Plan a centrally sponsored strategy was launched for cybernation of land records. During the Eighth Five Year Plan about 48 crores of rupees were allocated for this intent. By 1997-98 about 470 tahsils were covered under this programme. However, the advancement made so far is hapless due to miss of equal infrastructural and developing support at the local degree. Besides, there is a demand to take stairss to convey about transparence in the disposal of land records.


Since 1971 there has non been much advancement in the consolidation of retentions. The country under consolidation increased from 500 hundred thousand hectares to 641 hundred thousand hectares merely. In several provinces, the consolidation programme has non made any advancement what so of all time due to miss of compulsory commissariats in the jurisprudence. In Bihar, the consolidation programme has been discontinued since July 1992. The Government of Karnataka repealed the consolidation act in 1991. The province of Maharashtra besides suspended the execution of consolidation programme with consequence from 1993. In position of the overall good effects of the consolidation programme, province authoritiess should give precedence to it. Besides, the province authoritiess should guarantee that involvement of little and fringy husbandmans and renters are protected during the procedure of consolidation through appropriate and up-to-date land records and proper rating of their lands. It is interesting to observe that the cardinal authorities has constituted a high degree commission to propose steps for execution of consolidation of retentions in future.


Land reform policy in the yesteryear did non turn to the inquiry of land rights of adult females. In Uttar Pradesh, the Zamindari abolishment act banned a female kid from heritage of agricultural land. In some provinces, adult females can non even purchase agricultural land. In the absence of recorded land rights, they can non turn out that they are agriculturalists. In 1992 the gross curates ‘ conference recommended that in affairs of distribution of ceiling excess land and other public lands, adult females should be given equal chances. The land should be alloted jointly in the name of hubby and married woman. In pattern, nevertheless, adult females are by and large ignored as land ownership is given in the name of a male member of the benefited household. It is therefore desirable that jurisprudence should specifically supply adult females with equal entree to benefits of land reforms.


In the aftermath of economic reforms, land reforms appear to hold taken a back place in India. Sometimes even the doctrine of redistribution of land through land reforms is questioned. It is frequently argued that the bing land reforms Torahs restrict the growing of capitalistic/contract farming which is necessary for market-led growing. In recent old ages some province authoritiess even proposed for relaxation of ceiling and occupancy Torahs for regenerating the land market. The Government of Maharashtra has already proposed for upward alteration of land ceiling for horticultural intents. The province of Karnataka besides has prepared an agricultural policy which references about the demand for librealisation of occupancy and upward alteration of ceiling. However, the Government of India has non so far agreed to such proposals.

In fact, the statement that land reform stands in the manner of market-led growing appears to be misplaced. The experience of states like Japan and Korea shows that land reforms can assist in the faster and more sustainable development of capitalistic agribusiness, without making much hurting for the rural population. But market-led economic reforms, non accompanied by land reforms, could be painful for the rural hapless and may non be sustainable in the long tally. An a affair of fact land reforms should predate market reforms as a agency of rapid and balanced economic development.

Government POLICY

The authorities policy on land reforms has been more or less consistent since the 1970s. All the Five Year Plans from Fifth Plan onwards have emphasised the demand for effectual execution of land reforms for agricultural growing and equity. The Ninth Five Year Plan besides clearly mentioned that land reforms would go on to be an of import policy instrument for relieving rural poorness. Proper execution of land Torahs and policies would take to restructuring of the agricultural economic system in a manner conducive to higher growing rates of agricultural sector but with greater equity in the distribution of additions from it. The chief focal point of the Ninth Five Year Plan on land reforms is on the undermentioned few critical countries:

Attempts should be made to observe and redistribute the ceiling excess land and to implement the ceiling jurisprudence purely.

Occupancy reforms should be taken up specifically in the provinces characterized by semi-feudal manners of production.

The rights of renters and portion sharecrop farmers need to be recorded and security of term of office provided to them.

The hapless should be given entree to common belongings resources and authorities barrens.

The land rights of adult females must be ensured through amendment of the bing land Torahs.

Updating of land records should be expedited as this is a necessary pre-requisite of any land reforms policy.

A monolithic programme of forming the rural poors for engagement in and execution of land reforms and poverty relief programmes should be undertaken with the aid of voluntary groups.

However, the political will on the portion of assorted province authoritiess to implement land reforms efficaciously appears to be dubious.