Land reforms in India had three objectives.
i) Removing institutional discrepancies of the agrarian structure inherited from the past which obstructed increasing agricultural production, such as
» The size of agricultural holding, land ownership, land inheritance, tenancy reforms, abolition of intermediaries introduction of modern institutional factors to agriculture, etc.
ii) The other objective of the land reforms in India was related to the issue of socio-economic inequality in the country.
iii) The Third objective of the land reforms in India was the objective of increasing agricultural production for solving the inter-related problems of poverty, malnutrition and food insecurity.
To realise the objectives of the land reforms, the government took three main steps which had many internal sub-steps.
1) Abolition of Intermediaries
Under this step, the age-old exploitative land tenure system of the Zamindari, Mahalwari and Ryotwari were fully abolished.
2) Tenancy Reforms
Three inter-related reforms protecting the land tenants were effected.
i) Regulation of rent so that a fixed and rational rate of rent could be paid by the share croppers to the land owners.
ii) Security of tenure so that a share-cropper could be feel secure about his future income and his economic security.
iii) Ownership rights to tenants so that the landless masses (i.e., the tenants, the share - croppers) could in transferred the final rights for the land they plough land to the tiller.
3) Reorganisation of Agriculture
i) Redistribution of land among the landless poor masses after promulgating timely ceiling laws.
» The move failed badly with few expections, such as West Bengal, Kerala and partially in Andhra Pradesh.
ii) Consolidation of land could only succeed in the regions of the Green Revolution (i.e., Haryana, Punjab and Western Uttar Pradesh).
iii) Co-operative farming which has a high socio economic moral base, was only used by the big farmers to save their form the draconian ceiling laws.
» Data regarding the numerical achievements of land reform have been highly discouraging.
» Tenancy reforms made tenants have their rights but only on 4% of the total operated areas of India.
» Redistribution of ownership rights of land took place but only on 2% of the total operated area of the country.
» Taken together, the whole process of land reforms could benefit only 6% of the operated area of the country.
» It was the failure of land reforms which made the government easily attracted towards the new policy of the Green Revolution.
Reasons for Failure of Land Reforms
The following three could be considered the most important ones
i) Land in India is considered a symbol of social prestige, status and identity unlike the other Economies which succeeded in their land reform programmes where it is seen as just an economic asset for income-earning.
ii) Lack of political will which was required to affect land reforms and make it a successful programme.
iii) The rampant corruption in public life, political hypocrisy and leadership failure in the Indian democratic system.
The average size of land holding in India is continuously decreasing due to rapid and high population growth Agricultural holdings have been classified into three categories.
1. Economic Holding: Economic holding is a minimum essential area for profitable agriculture.
2. Family Holding: Family holding is a plough unit which is neither less nor more for an average size family to cultivate it properly.
3. Optimum Holding: Maximum size of the holding which must be possessed and owned by a family is called optimum holding.
Computerisation of Land Records
Two centrally sponsored schemes, viz
» Computerisation of Land Records (CLR) and
» Strengthening of Revenue Administration and Updating of Land Records (SRA & ULR) are being administered by the Land Reforms Division in the Department of Land Resources.
» At present, the scheme is being implemented in 582 districts of the country excepting those districts where there are no land records.