Posted November 30, 2013 by advocateguru in Learning Centre

Land Reforms


Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.-Mark Twain

During the British rule the concept of private property was introduced and community ownership system in tribal societies was discarded. The British introduced the ‘zamindari’ or ‘permanent settlement system’ in 1793. Under this system the feudal lords became owners of large tracts of land against fixed revenue payments to the government. Peasants became tenant farmers who had to pay rent to the zamindars. On the similar line the ryotwari system prevailed in south and west India. The ‘mahalwari system’ was another system under which the entire villages had to pay revenue, with farmers contributing their share in proportion to their land holdings. This led to extreme unequal land holdings in the society.

India had inherited a semi-feudal system of land distribution on the lines of European feudal system. Most landowners belong to the upper castes and cultivators to the middle castes; agricultural labourers are mostly dalits and adivasis.

As Jack Kemp stated “When people lack jobs, opportunity, and ownership of property they have little or no stake in their communities” henceland reforms became the prime objective after independence. Hence the land reforms were sought which included:

  1. Abolition of the zamindari system.

  2. Protection to tenants.

  3. Rationalisation of different tenure systems.

  4. Imposition of ceilings on landholdings.

According to the 7th five year plan land reforms refers to abolition of intermediary tenures, tenancy reforms, ceiling on landholding and distribution of surplus land, consolidation of holdings, and compilation and updating of land records.