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Essay on land reforms in India

The economy of India primarily revolves around agriculture and the productivity in agriculture is mainly dependent on technological and institu­tional factors. Technological factors are factors like better seeds, better methods of irrigation, harvesting etc. which help to raise productivity. The institutional reforms include the re-allocation of the ownership of land in favor of the cultivating class like improving the size of the farm and regulation of rents etc. Main aim of reforms is just to get maximum advantage of the available land resources. In India condition is such that rate of population is so great and also there is greater demand for agricultural products. Therefore India, being an agricultural country is facing a crisis in the planning ‘of agriculture schemes from the very beginning.

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It is very important to know that agriculturist is the builder of social structure and to make it work for progress it is necessary to improve the conditions of the villagers, who till the land without getting proper reward of their labour. Therefore the main reforms should be to eliminate intermediaries, to regulate rent, ceiling of land-holdings and organization of co-operative farms.

At the time of independence the land tenure system was quite unfavourable to the farmers. There were three basic systems of land tenure i.e. Zamindari, Ryotwari and Mahalwari system. Later on some tendency reforms have been introduced. Broadly speaking, tenants used to be either occupancy tenants or sub-tenants or tenants at will. The occupancy tenants were somewhat better placed as-far-as their rights were concerned. There were enhancements of rents, eviction and exaction. Some states tried to regulate rents also. In Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan one-sixth of gross produce is fixed as maximum rent, whereas in Assam and Mysore maximum rents very between one-fourth to one-third and in Punjab one-third of the produce is considered to be maximum rent. Some of the landlords used to have very big holding and they could not devote any attention to the development of that land to the fullest extent. The land unless redistributed properly will not conform to the current socio-political climate. Also this landlord would not allow tiller to have some advantage that may bypass his present benefits. Otherwise also big land holdings were unmanageable. So the Government had tried to put ceiling on land-holdings.

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One of the most important event in the history of land reforms is “Bhoodan Movement”, although it was not a part of land reform policy. Acharya Bhave ‘s Bhoodan Movement did not have any legal sanction as it depended more upon moral appeal. According to him land is also a universal gift from god to the people just as air and water. Also it is one of the ways to eliminate economic inequality, to share the land with the tillers and landless. Although now the movement has died off, but initially 42.7 lakh acres of land was donated under this movement. Another type of land redistribution is suggested by Dr. Minhas. According to him no household ownership should be larger than 20 acres and the extra land should be distributed among the households in the four lower size classes in a manner that per capita ownership of land in the four classes is equal.

Similarly Mr. V.V. Giri in his book “Jobs For Our Millions” has proposed a plan for co-operative land colonization of waste land. Mahatma Gandhi once wrote, “I firmly believe that we shall not derive the full benefit of agriculture until we take to c-operative farming.” So co-operative farming is considered to be ultimate objective of land reforms. The Co-operative Planning Committee has classified co-operative farming into 4 classifications. First is co-operative tenant farming, where a number of fanners own land which is divided into smaller holdings given to individual members of the society. Another is co-operative collective farming which means that the members surrendered their land and their equipments are jointly Owned and work is done jointly. In the third type i.e. co-operative farming where all the farmers in a village join together and combine all agricultural operations. The last type of farming is co-operative joint farming which implies pooling of land and cultivating jointly.

There has been a very slow progress of land reform policy and still they are full loopholes. Legislation has also completely failed to prevent sub tenancy and rack renting. Some economists do feel that the land reforms created a bigger gap between the landlords and tenants. Also there is lack of uniformity in the execution of the policies. So although we are in a right direction to introduce various land reform policies, but the loophole lies in their implementation. But, we should never lose hope and keep on moving ahead.

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