The land ceiling laws were enforced in 1950s and 1960s as a part of Land Reforms but they are now often alleged to be misconceived since they don't allow viable land holdings. Critically discuss this paradox suggesting it can be addressed.

The government introduced the land reforms of abolition of zamindari system and ceiling on land holdings. These were brought in ensure the social justice.
These land reforms were vital because:

  • It protected the tillers from the oppression of zamindars.
  • It made tiller the owner of the land hence more incentives for tiller to increase the productivity. This was essential to ensure the food security of the country.
  • It upheld the socialistic directive principles of state policy which aims at equitable distribution of wealth.

But as an added baggage it also brought in some adverse consequences like

  • Ceiling on land holdings together with inheritance rights has led to fragmentation of land holdings. As a result, the economic viability of the agriculture has been adversely affected.
  • The agriculture was reduced to intensive and subsistence farming. This impacted the food security of the nation in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • The small size of land holdings has also resulted in the disguised unemployment resulting in the decreased efficiency and productivity of the workforce.
  • The fragmented and reduced land holdings have also handicapped the ability of Indian farmers in adopting to efficient methods like use of machinery and equipment, drip irrigation etc. as the scale of agriculture doesn’t collaborate with the capital required.
  • The spillover effects of these land reforms are seen even today. These have limited the avenues to attract private investments in agriculture. This has led to stagnation of agricultural sector.
  • As a result of stagnation, economic unviability, vagaries of monsoon, Youth are moving away from agriculture sector. As a result, country is also witnessing feminisation of agriculture.

Addressing this:

  • Adoption of model land leasing law as suggested by Niti Ayog to aid in drawing private investment to agriculture.
  • Promoting cooperative farming by establishing cooperatives at village level.
  • Governments providing the farm equipment’s and machineries on lease to small and marginal farmers to increase the productivity (Government of Karnataka has brought in a scheme for it)
  • Achieving the convergence of MNREGA with farming to address the issue of farm labor crisis haunting agricultural sector.

As the winds of change is blowing through the agricultural sector it’s time for India to revisit it strategies to ensure the elements which are handicapping Indian agriculture are uprooted. It’s time for landreforms 2.0.

Question for UPSC Mains:
The land ceiling laws were enforced in 1950s and 1960s as a part of Land Reforms but they are now often alleged to be misconceived since they don't allow viable land holdings. Critically discuss this paradox suggesting it can be addressed. {250 words}

Published: November 20, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

Comments