LAND REFORMS IN INDIA
WHAT IS LAND FORM – Land reforms involve the changing of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership and transfer of ownership from more powerful to less powerful.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND – Land reforms after independence-
- Institutional reforms
Abolition of intermediaries
Tenancy reforms- security of tenure, decrease in rent, conferment of ownership rights.
Ceiling on size of landholdings
Cooperativization and community development programmes.
- Technological reform
Beginning around mid or late sixties ushering in green revolution.
DIFFERENT DIMENSIONS OF LAND REFORMS-
- Anti poverty strategy – majority of our population depends on agriculture so improvement in agriculture through the vortex of land reforms is prerequisite.
- Empowerment of women – as it has been increased feminization of agriculture , an estimated 20 % of rural household are de facto female headed , women are often managing land and livestock .
- Tenure security can empower women to assert themselves better with agencies that provide input and extension services.women with asset such as land have greater bargaining power which can lead to more gender equal allocations of benefits even from male incomes. Women without independent resources are vulnerable to poverty though they are better informed about agricultural knowledge. Moreover it would add to socio-cultural fabric.
- Land alienation-the menace of naxalism has its root in land alienation . The Ministry of Home Affairs’ assessment, in 2006,was that 120-150 districts in 12 states were “Naxal-infested”. Obviously, normal writs of the State did notoperate in these areas. Thus, a huge chunk of mainland India was being “governed” by extra-legal and, in some places, illegal authorities. The assessment also showed that militants, whoever they were, had established arapport with the local population due to which they were able to move about freely evading and avoiding the pincers of the law-enforcing authorities. They were proving to the hilt Mao Tse-tung’s doctrine of ‘Fish in Water’,where the fish were the militants and the water the mass of disgruntled, disaffected peasantry and landlessagricultural workers. If the disaffection of the latter could be substantially reduced, the water would evaporateand the militants disappear.
- Food security- to ensure food security for such a vast population as in india land reforms becomes vital. And if we fail to ensure food security we fail to ensure nutritional security too.
- Equality to india-equality is our constitutional right and by land reforms this is granted to every citizen of our country.
INITIATIVES TAKEN SO FAR-
- Land ceiling– ceiling limits has been prescribed by the states above which a family cannot own a land.
- Bhoodan land– the land owners who had large quantities of land were persuaded to surrender some part voluntarily .
- Tenancy reforms– leasing out land to others needy person on written or oral agreement hence some states enacted laws to protect tenants.
- Common property resource– states have conferred rights to the communities over resources such as pasture land, fuel wood, minor forest produce.
- Waste land– states distributes the waste land available with them to the landless persons.
- Tribal land alienation– enactment of laws for the protection of scheduled tribes.
- Land and its management – land and its management fall in exclusive domain of states .each state has different set up for land and land record management so this heterogenecity is an issue.
- Shifting Economic Imperatives –Increasing people’s access to land and creating a more equitable redistribution of land assets are important for India, particularly in view of its high and ever-increasing person-to-land ratio. Increased emphasis on industrialization should not result in an abandonment of the rural sector.
- Maintaining Ecological Balance –ecological balance between the proportion of land designated for forestry, agriculture, and non agricultural purposes. There is a need to explore the linkages among rural poverty, landlessness, and skewed land tenure systems with particular attention to the problems of deforestation. The reduction of forests inevitably disturbs the ecological balance. Cyclical patterns of droughts followed by floods have been clearly linked to this. At the same time, there is no guarantee that the already existing skewed distribution of land outside the forests will not be replicated.
- Preserving Human Diversity –The concept of land as a commodity comes into conflict with traditional concepts of common property and with societies, such as those of many tribal peoples throughout India, who generally do not have a documented system of land rights.
- Complexities of Common Property Regimes–Resources, both natural and manmade, controlled and managed as common property present another challenge in the context of land-related issues.Besides private property or property owned and controlled by the state, common property such as forests, grazing lands, water, and fisheries can also beheld and managed through a community resource management system.
- At present the issues related to land are dealt by the various govt. department with little scope of interdepartmental coordination. Land management largely bureaucratically controlled no resurveys to create upto date land records . To add to the misery of rural population majority of the revenue courts continue to operate in English language unknown to rural hinterlands.
MEASURES TO STRENTHGEN LAND REFORMS-
- A massive operation should be undertaken to restore alienated tribal lands to their rightful tribal owners.
- Appropriate amendments of the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 and Coal Bearing Areas (AcquisitionDevelopment) Act of 1957 in tune with PESA.
- Issue of ‘user pattas’in the names of women and men for use of CPR including tree pattasfor forest dwellers and water pattasfor fisherfolk over inland or coastal CPR waterbodies.
- Setting up of a dispute settlement mechanism at the gram panchayat level with gram panchayat members and representatives of beneficiary groups, with a representative of the bureaucracy as a member convenor,to keep records and explain the legal position.
- The NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL so as to make it fully federal structure.
- The settlement of rent should be left to the village community to decide at the panchayat level and to be appropriated for their own purpose.
- The survey operations should be subjected to social audit
- The state have to device a regular method where by the updation of records of rights may take place without there being requirement of survey operation in the present mode.
National Land Reforms Policy
- This policy focuses on those aspects of land reforms which if implemented in true letter and spirit will have the potential to tilt the balance in favour of the landless and poor.
- Recognising the need for land among the poorer sections of the society, many S tate Governments had come up with land distribution programmes to facilitate land ownership for the poor.
- In addition to the govt. lands, other categories of land like the ceiling surplus lands, bhoodan lands etc.were also distributed to the landless poor for cultivation purposes.
- In order to provide homestead land, minimum agricultural land, and shelter to every family, it is essential that a land pool is created.
- Evict ineligible encroachers of government lands, ceiling surplus and bhoodan lands and distributed to the landless poor.
- Every state should revise its ceiling limits, if the existing limit is more than 5-10 acres in the case of irrigated land and 10-15 acres for non- irrigated land.
- States shall adopt single window system for re- distribution of ceiling surplus land within a specified time frame.
- There is an urgent need to re- visit the land ceiling limits in different categories. Excluding the achievements of some States like West Bengal, Kerala, and J& k.
1) YOJANA on Land Reform