Success of land reforms

  • The most successful of all reforms were the abolition of intermediaries like zamindars.
  • There are enough studies to indicate that the quantum of absentee ownership in the 70s was much less serious than in the 50s. Absentee ownership had reduced much more in un-irrigated areas, than in irrigated areas. The transfer of land under the fore-warning impact of the tenancy and ceiling legislation to the resident cultivators was on a much larger scale in dry areas.
  • The greed of the big landowners was kept in check.
  • Collapse of the feudal structure.
  • It led to an increase in the landless labour, as former tenants were driven out.
  • Rich peasants preferred to avoid wage related disputes with the new labour and thus preferred more mechanization.
  • Tenancy reforms were most successful in Kerala and West Bengal.
    • In the late 1960s a massive program of conferment of titles to lands, to hutment dwellers and tenants were highly beneficial.
    • Operation Barga: In West Bengal Operation Barga was launched in 1978 with the objective of achieving the registration of sharecroppers and provide them permanent occupancy and heritable rights and a crop division of 1:3 between landowner and sharecropper.
  • Cooperatives and community development programs were started.

Factors responsible for the success of land reforms

  • Political mobilization during freedom struggle was also based on agrarian issues. This political awareness and education facilitated the acceptance of land reforms to advance the development of agriculture.
  • Political will of government. The government enacted laws and constitutional amendments to overcome several hurdles. Across political spectrum there was an acknowledgment and enthusiasm to facilitate these reforms.
  • Kissan Sabhas and Farmers Associations also helped farmers organize themselves and raise their demands.
  • The spirit of freedom struggle and attainment of Independence inculcated the feeling to usher in a new era in India, where prosperity, growth and wealth where to be shared equally.
  • Judicial backing and progressive interpretations of constitutional provisions aided in land reforms. Without abolishing Rights to property as fundamental right and providing for the exception of land reform legislations through IX schedule it would have been an uphill task to recognize land holdings.