Land reform refers to an institutional measure directed towards altering the existing pattern of ownership, tenancy, leasing, and management of land. The Land Reforms were introduced to end the feudalistic exploitative character of the agrarian structure after India’s Independence.
Measures of Land Reforms:
- Abolition of Intermediaries and bringing the cultivators in direct contact with the Government.
- Tenancy reforms: (a) Security of tenure for the tenants (b) Regulation of Rent (c) grant of ownership rights to certain types of tenants.
- Reorganisation of Agriculture; (a) Imposition of ceiling on land holdings (b) Acquisition of surplus land and its distribution among the small farmers and landless workers (c) Consolidation of land holdings through promotion of cooperative farming. Ex: Kudumbashree in Kerala
Land Records modernisation to facilitate access to credit Ex: Karnataka’s Bhoomi Project
Land ceiling policy as an effective reform under economic criteria:
- Prevent concentration of wealth and ensure distributive justice in line with Article 39(b) and 39 (c)
- Higher Efficiency of Small Farms as they adopt efficient land use practices.
- Promote Agricultural diversification as small farmers tend to engage in livestock sector to diversify the risk.
- Promotion of jobs as small farms provide more employment opportunities.
- Higher access to credit as land ownership encourages Banks to give loans to poor people.
- Enhance overall demand and promote higher GDP by transferring the incomes of few to many.
However, implementation of land ceiling laws was successful only in few states such as West Bengal (Operation Barga), Kerala etc. As identified by Committee on Unfinished Task on Land Reforms, the States should have a relook at the ceiling laws and address the flaws.