Mains Daily Question
March 6, 2020

Q. Explaining the need and objectives of land reforms in India, examine the steps taken by the government in this regard.


  • List the need and objectives of land reforms in India.

  • Assess the various land reform policies that came to be implemented since independence.

  • Conclude by assessing the steps taken in this regard.

Model Answer

It is basically redistribution of land from those who have excess of land to those who do not possess with the objective of increasing the income and bargaining power of the rural poor. It  means the distribution of surplus land to small farmers and landless tillers, accrued as a result of the implementation of the ceiling on agricultural holdings. More broadly, it includes regulation of ownership, operation, leasing, sales, and inheritance of land.

Need for land reform in India:

  • In order to remove intermediaries like zamindars, landholders, farm merchants from the production process, so that the tillers have a stake and incentive in production.

  • The tendency of large landholders becoming richer and small land holders not so increases inequality. So the land had to be redistributed.

  • The dependence of a large population and weaker section of the society on agriculture.

  • Various agriculture related stresses such as inadequate crop production, dependence on rainfall, exploitation by money lenders etc, leading to farmer suicides.

  • Economic harm due to decline in agriculture productivity.

  • To recognize traditional rights of tribal over forest lands, preventing alienation of tribal communities and making them a stakeholder in the development process.

Objectives of Land Reforms:

  • Initially the objective was to provide equitable distribution of land and adequate income to those who were dependent on it.

  • To keep agricultural productivity high.

  • To ensure food security of the country.

  • To ensure self reliance of the national economy.

  • To reduce poverty and inequality.

Steps taken in order to carry forward land reforms:

  • Abolition of Zamindari Act.

  • Tenancy regulation: to improve contractual terms including security of tenure.

  • Land Ceiling: where a cap on maximum land ownership was introduced. The land in excess of limit was distributed amongst the landless.

  • Land to the tillers: taking away the land from landholders who did not cultivate it.

  • Cooperative farms: to provide for a larger productive land for the community to work on.

  • Appropriate compensation for the acquired land.

  • The Scheduled tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.

Challenges: Being a state subject, there exist considerable variations in the results achieved by land reform legislations trying to achieve land to the tiller policy. However, loopholes in these laws have been

exploited to evade land ceiling and other reforms. The most notable and successful example of land reforms are in the states of West Bengal and Kerala. The difference in system of land records and land administration in the hilly and tribal tracts of north-eastern States also poses challenges to land reforms.


Steps that need to be taken further:

  • Protection of fertile agricultural land exclusively for agricultural purposes.

  • Provision of sufficient loans and capital to the actual tiller of land.

  • Promoting land leasing and contract farming.

  • Implementing Forest rights act in true spirit by all the states.


Land reform is the major step of the government to assist people living under adverse conditions. The purpose of land reform is to help weaker sections of society and do justice in land distribution. Hence, government land policies should be implemented effectively to make more rational use of the scarce land resources by affecting conditions of holdings, imposing ceilings and grounds on holdings so that cultivation can be done in the most economical manner.

Subjects : Modern History
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