Mains Daily Question
Feb. 24, 2021

  1. Land reforms which began after independence continue even in the present time. Examine how they land reforms have evolved with changing component and substance.


  • Introduce why there was a need for land reforms and why it is still relevant

  • Bring out various components of land reforms taken from time to time by dividing in phases: Post Independence reforms, Reforms post 1970s and Present-day reforms.

  • Conclude with success and failures in brief and a way ahead

Model Answer

In Aug 1947, India won political independence but social and economic independence was yet to be achieved with most of the population being either small or marginal farmers or tenant cultivators. The land reforms which began post-independence have been a continuous process ever since. The main components of land reforms over the years include Tenancy reform, Abolition of intermediaries, Restructuring of agriculture land (land ceiling, consolidation, land records etc.) with various measures being taken during different periods.

 Land reforms (1947 to 1970)

  • Abolition of Intermediaries: Following the recommendation of Kumarappa Committee, all the states in India enacted legislation for abolition of Zamindars, Jagirdars etc. By 1960 nearly 20 million cultivators were brought under the direct contact with the government.

  • Tenancy Reforms: The tenant farmers were provided with security of rights and those cultivating land for a fixed period were given ownership of rights.

  • Ceiling on land holdings and land consolidation: State government passed legislation to limit the maximum amount of land that could be held by an individual. Excess land was to be distributed to the landless farmers.

  • Voluntary donation: Bhoodan and Gramdan movement were started to persuade big land lords to renounce their land properties in the name of the village.

Land reforms (1970 to 1991)

  • Redistribution of land ceiling surplous land: The ceiling limits of about 4 hectares of irrigated land cultivable twice a year was set by Union government in consultation with state governments.

  • Updation of land records: During 7th and 8th Five year plan, a centrally sponsored scheme was launched for this purpose.

Land reforms (1991 to present)

  • After the Economic reforms of 1991, liberal land reforms like land leasing, cooperative farming, contract farming were promoted.

  • Recent land reforms include digitization of land records, creation of land banks, land pooling, etc.

Land records have been a continuous phenomenon since independence but its nature has changed based on need of time. Some reforms have been successfully implemented like abolition of intermediaries. Other components have seen limited success with West Bengal doing well on land redistribution and Telangana etc. taking lead in digitizing land records. Mandataory digitization along with measures for welfare of small and marginal farmer and tenants will go a long way in ensuring socio-economic equity among people in India.


Subjects : Modern History
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