Land Reforms Administration in India – An Unfinished Task


Beni Alphonse Ekka

Published By :
Xavier Institute of Social Service, Ranchi, 2005
About the book

The focus of rural life in India continues to be land. The major objective of land reforms was to achieve an egalitarian society through the redistribution of (ceiling) surplus land and to increase land productivity. The role of administration, therefore, lay in giving a strong direction to the rural economy on behalf of the landed poor as a measure of enforcement of the Rule of low. This resulted in the real issue being not one of equity, but to minimum entitlements. The Government of Undivided Bihar enacted several land reform laws, prominent among them being the ceiling on land holdings, production of tenants from eviction and fixation of fair rent, etc. However, an overall review of the land reforms programme in India and also in Undivided Bihar suggests that it has not substantially changed the pattern of in equalities in the agrarian structure and resultant social rigidities. The key to understanding this phenomenon lies in the skewed pattern of land ownership. Here, Undivided Bihar has, perhaps, a long way to go to develop a favourable land-man relationship in rural areas. Moreover, land seems to be no more a symbol of social status as it was previously. Studies relating to land reforms and bureaucracy and absentee landlordism have revealed that laxity in implementing legislation have enabled resourceful landowners to successfully maneuver their surplus lands and encourage sub-infeudation. Undivided Bihar had also provided possible explanations for the ineffectiveness of these various provisions. Ways and means to make programmes more effective have been suggested in a few others. Land reform is a state subject and it is difficult to prescribe a uniform set of guidelines. A puritanical view of land reform is an anachronism. There is an urgent need to consider once more the issues involved in land and administration in the overall context of reforms and for a future unfinished task. Panchayati Raj Institutions can also play a better role in the implementation of land reforms. This book will serve the interest of students and scholars of political economy, agrarian economics, agriculture and rural development, besides being useful to activists, non-government organizations, administrators and policy-makers engaged in this highly sensitive and volatile issues and yet of great importance.

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