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Essay on Land Reforms in India: An Unfinished Agenda

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We are providing many paragraphs, long essay in very simple language with the boundaries of different words here.  Here you can find Essay on Land Reforms in India: An Unfinished Agenda in English language for students in 1000 words. In this article cover Topic : India as an agrarian country, Land revenue systems in pre-independ.ence era, Post independence, the recommendation of Agrarian Reforms Committee, The Planning Commission of India and its objectives, Significance of Bhoodan Movement in the history of land reforms, Land reform programmes and the failure of these programmes and The main objectives of Land Acquisition , Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015.

An agrarian country like India with more than 55 per cent population dependent on agriculture as means of employment and sustenance. 'Land’ plays a very important role. Land reform usually refers to equitable distribution land between all the strata of a society. Before independence our agrarian society was governed by semi-feudal principles. This society was broadly divided into four classes, the cultivating holders, the intermediaries cum cultivating holders,tenants-at-will and agricultural labourers. The agricultural labourers were the unemployed, underempl oyed and seasonal employed class of the agrarian society. Other classes constituted small and large land owners. These feudal structure of society led to the backwardness of society and sheer poverty among the rural masses, as land is the major source of wealth and social hierarchy.

In the pre-independence era three types of land revenue system existed in India. namely, 'Ryotwari, Zamindari and Mahalwari'. The Ryotwari system started in Madras in 1772. Under this system, the government had set responsibility of paying land revenue to the cultivator. In this system no middleman existed. Here. the ryots had the right to sell, transfer and lease the land Under no circumstan the cultivator could be evicted as long as he paid the land revenue. Ryots in Bengal did not always cultivate the land directly, but leased it out to under ryo-

On the other hand, Zamindari system which started in 1793 under Lord Cornwallis, was the most draconian one. It went on to create intermediaries between state and the cultivator. Started in West Bengal and later on adopted in other states, the system remained till our independence. Landlords owned the land and rented them out to cultivators. However, the landlords never cultivated the land but only collected revenue from the cultivators. The revenue demand was permanently fixed and the system was known as 'Permanent Settlement'. The Company fixed the revenue rate very high which was sometimes impossible To collect from the cultivators. The revenue was fixed regardless of the harvest. It made rent collection as a perennial problem.Similarly, the third system was Mahalwari system. ‘Mahals’ signified villages. This system mostly was used in Western Uttar

 Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab etc. Here, the whole of village. or mahal was responsible for payment of land revenue to the state. Therefore, the ownership of land was under a village body. The system was started by

Lord William Bentick. As a result of the above mentioned land revenue system, the agrarian structure that existed years preceding the independence were unequal ownership of land; absentee land ownership, exploitration of tenents at the lands of state or Zamindars (intermediaries); tiny and fragmented land holdings etc.

After Independence in order to get rid of the above rigidities, a committee was set-up under the Chairmanship of JC Kumarappa called as Agrarian reforms Committee. It submitted its report in 1949 and became the main of plank of land reform in our country. The committee suggested, abolition of intermediaries; fixing land ceilings holding; redistribution of surplus land among the marginalised. However, the time lag between law and its implementation allowed for finding loopholes in the legislation. Intermeediaries continued to exist even after abolition of Zamindari as they made legal or illegal transfers of land in the name of their relatives without actually being the cultivator of the land. Agrarian reform also suggested for tenency reforms. It prohibited against any system of cultivation by tenants.

The Planning Commission of India sums up the objectives of the land reform in two comprehensive steps. First, to remove the impediments which hinders the agricultural production? Second, to eliminate all elements of exploitation and social injustice within the agrarian system. It will provide security of the cultivator and assure equality of status and opportunity to all the sections of the rural population. The Constitution makers also understood the importance of land. Therefore, land was made a Fundamental Right under Article 31. But due to innumerable cases in this regard 1st Constitutional Amendment changed the provision and made land as a legal right. some other notable efforts towards land reform in India are, Consolidation of land holidings; Bhoodan movement and Cooperative farming.

Consolidation of land holding means aggregating of small fragments of land in an area and then purchasing it from the owner. Due to inheritance of land the property gets smaller with passing generation. Therefore, to make agriculture viable, government resorted to this technique.

One of the most important events in the history of land reform is the Bhoodan Movement in 1951 it was started by Acharya Vinoba Bhave. He made an emotive appeal to rich landlords and appropriated almost 54.60 lakh acres of land. But this effort was not successful, land donated were mostly not conducive for agriculture and only 25% were distributed.

Similarly cooperative farming was also promoted to solve the problems of sub-division and fragmentation of land holdings. However, in India the concept failed miserably as people were not colliding to part with their land for community. After independence land reforms programme was started with great enthusiasm which was soon lost. The principal reasons behind this were lack of political will, absence of presume from the poor peasants, apathetic attitude of the bureaucracy, absence of up-to-date land records etc.

Some states like, West Bengal and Kerala took steps to better the fate of the agriculture labourers by providing security of employment to them, ensuring prompt payment of wages to the workers and also by regulating the working hours. In the Eleventh Five Year Plan tenancy was legalised in a limited manner. It provided security to the tenant for the contractual period, which could be long enough to encourage long-term investment by the tenant. Again one of the main objective of the Twelfth Five Year Plan is to move Indian agriculture from a low-productivity-staple-producing system to a rising-productivity-commercially oriented sector.

Some recent efforts of land reform in India is reflected in the landmark legislation of the right to fair compensation and transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015. The bill today exists as an ordinance because of various issues of its provision. The underlying idea of bill was that the owners of land were not compensated and rehabilitated fairly for carrying out any project. The bi11 provides for, consent of 70% of the land owners for PPP project and 80Y for the private entities. The bill also provides for social impact assessment to be carried out in case of acquisition.

Also, it imposes restrictions on acquisition of irrigated multi cropped land In case the land acquired for intended purpose remains unutilised it will be returned to the land bank after a specified period of time. These provisions were included after the present government came into the power and the bill has remained in the Parliament and has not been passed It only exists as an ordinance in the government books.

Therefore, land reform should include the people who will be affected by it. People should be the centre piece of any reform. The productivity of any legislation will be positive if the legislations are strongly implemented Land should not become a tool of politics or violence rather it should be a facilitator of growth and development. The main purpose of the land reform is to help weaker section of society and do justice in land distribution.

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