Critically examine the performance of Land Ceiling acts / reforms in Independent India.

Land ceiling means fixing maximum size of land holding that an individual or family can own. The land above the ceiling limit, called surplus land and the surplus land is distributed among small farmers, tenants, landless labourers or handed over to village panchayat. In India, by 1961-62, all the state governments have passed the land ceiling acts. But the ceiling limits varied from state to state. To bring uniformity across states, a new land ceiling policy was evolved in 1971.In 1972, national guidelines were issued with ceiling limits as 10-18 acres for best land, 18-27 acres for second class land and for the rest with 27-54 acres with a slightly higher limit in the hill and desert areas. The land ceiling act helped in various ways:

  • The large tracts of wasteland belonging to big zamindars, when given to landless laborers, it increased area under cultivation.
  • Equal distribution of land encouraged intensive cultivation on small lands and hence, increased agricultural production.
  • Some of the Land owners shifted to direct ‘efficient’ farming in order to get ‘exemption’ from land ceiling.
  • Earlier while Landless laborers, who got employment only during sowing and harvesting season now became self-employed farmers.
  • The main aim of land ceiling act was reduction of inequality of income among the people of India and it gained satisfactory acheivement in it.


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