Land reform is a type of agricultural reform that involves modifying land ownership laws, rules, or norms. Farmers did not have ownership of the lands they cultivated under the British Raj. Many measures were attempted in post-independence India to bring about land reforms and improve the dreadful conditions of farmers.
Land Reforms Aided Marginal and Small Farmers in Improving Their Socioeconomic Conditions in the Following Ways:
The zamindari system was abolished, removing the layer of intermediaries between the cultivators and the state. It kept the debt trap at bay and increased marginal and small farmers’ share of production costs.
Tenancy reforms: During the pre-independence period, tenants paid exorbitant rent. Tenancy laws were enacted to limit rent, offer tenants with security of tenure, and provide them ownership rights.
Landholdings ceilings: The goal was to prevent land concentration in the hands of a few. It guaranteed that land was redistributed from large landowners to landless laborers, assuring land ownership, credit, and food security.
Consolidation of landholdings: It prevented landholdings from being subdivided and fragmented. It cut the cost of cultivation, reduced farmer lawsuits, and increased farmer income.
Cooperative Farming: Each member farmer retains ownership of his property, but farming is done cooperatively. Profit is divided among the member farmers in proportion to the amount of land they hold.
Land Reforms Are Posing a Number of Difficulties:
- Land reform was a time-consuming and inefficient procedure.
- Under the Land Ceiling Act, benami transactions became a source of worry.
- It will take time to digitize land records with efficiency and accuracy.
Although land reform measures have been implemented slowly, the goal of social justice has been attained to a large extent.
To alleviate rural poverty and enhance the socio-economic conditions of marginal and small farmers, new and innovative land reform policies should be implemented with renewed vigour.