India with its huge civilization of diverseness had been exposed to assorted political, societal, economic and cultural influences throughout history. This was apparent in India ‘s agricultural building prior to Independence which was characterized by acute unfairnesss in agricultural dealingss, assortment of tenurial conditions, development, stagnation in production and the absence of inducements. The former agricultural system, although heterogeneous in its diverseness, was loosely dominated by two signifiers of term of offices i.e. zamindari and ryatwari systems. While in systems like Zamindari, there existed a little yet dominant category of landlords who owned immense stretches of land and appropriated more than half of the agricultural end product from the tillers of the land in the signifier of rent to go through it on to the British as land revenue.It was characterized by the being of more than one bed of proprietary rights between the State and the existent holders of the land. In the Ryatwari system on the other manus, no such intermediary involvements existed. The ryats ( proprietory husbandmans ) appointed renters, largely sharecrop farmers and agricultural pay laborers to cultivate the land. It was estimated that at the clip of independency the Zamindari term of offices covered one-half of the state ‘s agricultural land. Despite the differences there were certain characteristics common to these land constructions such as the concentration of land ownership in few custodies which practically formed the material footing for the caste system prevalent among Hindus in India. “ The landholders constantly belonged to the alleged upper castes, the agriculturists to the in-between castes and the agricultural workers to the lowest castes, a state of affairs that led to economic disablements being aggravated by societal disadvantages. ”[ I ]The agriculturists ended up paying abnormally high rents known as rack rental. This was true even for the Ryatwari system which was described as a system of peasant proprietary. But because of the concentrated ownership of land, proprietors used to rent out land to renters who would pay fixed rents or portion the green goods, and enjoyed no “ security of term of office or fixed rent. “ Such was the background against which a demand for occupancy reforms and national land policy evolved after Independence.
EVOLUTION OF POLICY
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PRIOR TO INDEPENDENCE:
The national policy on occupancy reform bit by bit evolved over a period of about four decennaries. With the coming of Gandhi and the subsequent transmutation of the Indian National Congress into a mass motion, it witnessed monolithic societal and political mobilisation making out to cover with existent provincial grudges in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and North Canara. One of the initial attempts towards the abolishment of Zamindari system was a conference of the Congress and Kisan Sabha workers held at Allahabad in April 1935 under the presidency of Sardar Patel. It recommended “ the debut of a system of peasant proprietary under which the tiller of the dirt is himself the proprietor of it and pays R evenues to the Government without the intercession of any zamindar or talukdar. “ At its 50th Session held at Faizpur in 1935, the Indian National Congress adopted a declaration puting accent on the decrease of rent and land gross, abolishment of illegal levies, salvation of debt etc. Therefore there were assorted commissions and conferences of the INC that rallied the motto of ‘Land to the Tiller ‘ to mobilise provincials in the engagement of the freedom battle.
The national aims of increasing nutrient production and bettering productiveness of agribusiness to further growing and autonomy ( i.e. nutrient security ) mandated an overhauling of the prevalent agricultural construction. The familial agricultural system of the yesteryear was viewed as an exploitatory system that denied inducements to any betterments in agribusiness. As a effect, after India attained its Independence, the Indian National Congress set up a high-octane commission with Jawaharlal Nehru as its Chairman to pull an economic programme. Some of the recommendations on agricultural reforms made by the Committee included the riddances of all mediators between the tiller and the State and the replacing of all jobbers by non-profit taking bureaus such as co-operatives. The land under non-cultivating landlords was to come under the small town co-op and an upper bound was fixed on the size of retentions. Small retentions were to be consolidated in order to forestall farther atomization. The Agrarian Reforms Committee headed by J C Kumarappa subsequently on, formulated the policy of land reforms of the Indian National Congress in more precise footings. The commission recommended the abolishing of all intermediary involvements and transportation of land to the tiller. It besides recommended that leasing of land should be prohibited except in the instance of widows, bush leagues, and other handicapped individuals. Further in an effort to protect the renters they were to be granted tenancy rights for cultivating land continuously for a period of six old ages and had the right to buy their retentions at sensible monetary value to be determined by a land court. All of these recommendations were finally accepted by the Congress party. But there existed some contradictions as were pointed out by Januzzi in the manner it gave the proprietors of land a opportunity to restart their land for personal cultivation from the existent agriculturists and utilizing retainers, sharecrop farmers and agricultural laborers to cultivate. Furthermore the commission emphasized on farther atomization of land retentions and giving back land to communities which was against the ‘land to the tiller ‘ policy. The commission therefore failed to supply a solid analytical and factual base to convey about agricultural reforms in the freshly independent India.
Harmonizing to the Constitution of India, land was regarded as a province capable i.e. merely the several province authoritiess could go through Torahs and undertake executive determinations on affairs related to land. Hence, the Cardinal Government along with its assorted organic structures ( i.e. Planning Commission ) played an consultative function i.e. it defined the agricultural jobs and ascertained the wide functional parametric quantities within which the provinces should move and implement effectual land reforms. However, it must be noted that in the two decennaries post-Independence the Cardinal authorities and a bulk of the State authoritiess in India were formed by INC.
The Planning Commission while explicating its five twelvemonth programs had the twin basic aims of land reforms, i.e. economic efficiency the agricultural reforms should assist in taking all obstructions to accomplish high agricultural productiveness and besides work towards making conditions for germinating every bit speedy as possible, an agricultural economic system with high degree of efficiency, and societal justness wherein the agricultural reforms should assist to extinguish all elements of development and guarantee societal justness within the agricultural system to supply security for the tiller of the dirt and assure equality of position and chance to all the subdivisions of the rural population. Therefore in order to accomplish these aims, the undermentioned policy steps were envisaged:
abolishment of the prevalent intermediary system between the province and the existent tillers ;
occupancy reforms such as bestowal of ownership rights on the cultivating renters in the land held under their ownership ;
infliction of a ceiling on agricultural land retentions as a step lending to the modernisation of agribusiness and to extinguish parasitic absentee landlordism ;
rationalisation of the record of rights in land so as to do the rights of renters, portion sharecrop farmers and other classs of insecure landlords ;
consolidation of retentions with a position to doing easier the application of modern techniques of agribusiness ; and development of co-operative agriculture and co- operative small town direction.
REVIEW OF THE FIVE YEAR PLANS:
The policy laid down in the First Five Year Plan ( 1951-56 ) was set in statistical vacuity with merely disconnected informations available in provinces like Punjab and UP, and no information available for the eastern portion of the state. The ends set out for agricultural reforms included bestowal of lasting tenancy rights to set down to some of the occupant renters, protection of renters at will and finding of a ceiling for future acquisition of land. The big landholders could restart land for personal cultivation upto the ceiling bound set at three times the household keeping and renters would get permanent and heritable rights in land above the limit.As a consequence the occupancies were rendered insecure as the landholder could take the secret plans that he would convey under personal cultivation by endangering the renters and go forthing them in a unstable place for that period. The program besides failed to come up with a stiff definition of the term ‘personal cultivation ‘ which went on to go a authoritative spread for all future statute laws giving leeway to landlords to keep most of their traditional retentions. The lone precaution suggested in the Plan for the renters of such landholders was that occupancy should be for a period of five to ten old ages and that the rent should non transcend one-fourth to one-fifth of the gross green goods. Thus the first five twelvemonth program failed in its effort to convey about a structural alteration in the agricultural system.
While explicating the Second Five Year Plan ( 1956-61 ) , it was recognised that occupancy reforms had failed to confabulate any step of security on renters. It was found that there had been big scale illegal ejectment of renters under the pretense of ‘voluntary resignation ‘ of occupancy. It was diagnosed as a consequence of unequal land records and uneffective administrative agreements. Therefore accent was laid on the definition of ‘personal cultivation ‘ and its three elements i.e. hazard of cultivation, personal supervising, and labor. The 2nd program besides accepted the landholders right of recommencement of occupied land for personal cultivation on ‘general evidences ‘ . It reiterated the proposal in the First Plan that just rent, be reduced to the degree of 20 to 25 per cent of the gross green goods. Furthermore the renters of non-resumable countries should be enabled to buy ownership rights by paying purchase monetary value in episodes, fixed at a sensible degree.
It was rather apparent that station independency, the impression of development had become one where economic growing was equated to economic development, which had no parallel to societal justness. It emphasized the demand for investing for capital accretion in industry, peculiarly heavy industry but laid no accent on the demand for investing in agribusiness.
Despite all the attempts towards the execution of reforms, the Third Five Year Plan ( 1961-66 ) made this revealing understatement:
“ the impact of occupancy statute law on the public assistance of renters has been in pattern less than was hoped for ” . The grounds for this province of personal businesss were the failure in conveying about a uniformity among assorted provinces to ordain the laid down regulations and statute laws. The Third Plan made no new proposals but maintained the place stated in the Second Five Year Plan. It was merely at the clip of the Fourth Five Year Plan ( 1969-1974 ) , that the authorities took a clear base on the issue of land reforms. This was followed right after an intense agricultural agitation that gripped about all the provinces between the periods of 1967-1971, with economic adversities worsening as a consequence of the monetary value rise and unemployment which farther added to the socio-economic disparity and mounting plus poorness. Therefore in order to supply security of term of office to renters and sub-tenants, the Plan proposed that the undermentioned steps be taken: all occupancies were declared not resumable and lasting ( except in instances of landowners who are functioning in the defense mechanism forces or enduring from specified disablement ) ; agreements for speedy disposal of applications of recommencement that have already been made ; commissariats for complete security of term of office in regard of homestead land ; ordinance of Voluntary resignations ‘ forbiding land-owners from taking ownership of land at present tenanted and authorising local governments so that commissariats of jurisprudence are non circumvented by the landlords. The Fourth Plan admitted to the fact that at that place existed a immense spread between aims, statute law and Torahs, and their execution. But at the same clip, it claimed to turn land redistribution into a world in all the small towns and metropoliss of India.
Execution OF LAND REFORMS
We shall now analyze the extent to which the guidelines as set down in the Five Year Plans have been adopted in the province statute law on occupancy reform and the mode in which the Torahs were implemented.
Regulation of Rent:
All provinces have enacted statute law for modulating the rent collectible by cultivating renters. However in a few states the process of arrested development of rents were done in multiples of land gross. In Punjab and Haryana, just rent is one-third of the gross green goods, while in Jammu and Kashmir, for renters of land proprietors keeping above 12.5 estates just rent is one-fourth of the gross green goods for wet-lands and one-third for dry lands. However, in the instance of renters of landholders who own less than 12.5 estates of land, just rent is one half of the gross green goods. In Tamil Nadu just rent is 40 per cent of the gross green goods for irrigated lands, 35 per cent where irrigation is supplemented by lift irrigation, and 33.33 per cent in other instances. In the Andhra country of Andhra Pradesh the maximal bound has been put at 30 per cent of the gross green goods for irrigated land and 25 per cent for dry land. Despite the arrested development of the just rent the renters still face a hazard of illegal ejectment. At the 1961 Census it was estimated that about 82 per cent of the occupancies in the state were insecure. Since 1961, there has been important betterment in the conditions of such insecure renters merely in a few countries. Hence the bulk of the bing renters have non derived much benefit from the commissariats in the occupancy Torahs for repairing just rent. ( ! )
Security of Tenure:
Tenants were defined as the individuals who cultivate the land of others on payment of rent in hard currency or sort. In some provinces, the position of renter was non accorded to share-croppers who pay rent by the division of the green goods. Therefore share-croppers ( known as ‘Sajhis ‘ in UP and ‘Bargadars ‘ in West Bengal ) were non extended the same protection as the renters until 1970.
Furthermore, in Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Orissa, and Rajasthan, landholders were allowed to exert the right of recommencement within a limited period after which it was no longer allowed. Even where a bound was put on the country that a landholder could restart, he could endanger to exert his right against any of his renters.
One of the of import requirements for the effectual execution of occupancy Torahs was the being of right and up-to-date records of occupancy rights. Though the demand for such records was emphasized in the Five Year Plans, yet in world in big parts of the state no record of occupancy exists and in countries where such records exist they are constantly uncomplete and out-of-date.In the provinces of Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, the land records were expected to be kept up-to-date through one-year alteration. But there were disagreements as several names of the renters remained live. It was the absence of these records which is cited as one of the chief grounds for the unsatisfactory execution of the enacted occupancy statute laws.
Although the ceiling Torahs enacted in the late fiftiess and early sixtiess were aimed at cut downing inequalities in landholdings, the really category nature of the land reforms carried out in the state was unable to interrupt the concentration of land in a few custodies. The land reform programmes had serious loopholes and suffered from long holds in execution which had been intentionally allowed in the statute laws in the involvement of the landlords and no stairss had been taken to take them. Some of these loopholes of the ceiling Torahs were as follows, ceiling in many provinces was imposed on the persons alternatively of on the household. This allowed the landlord to intentionally stamp down information and base on balls on his land in the name of his household and friends. The system besides lacked barely any machinery to maintain a cheque except by opportunity sensing. In provinces like Bihar, the landholders were permitted to reassign land to other members of the household up to the ceiling bound, thereby doing a jeer of the ceiling Torahs. For case, a measure of 1954 provided for the arrested development of ceiling at 25 estates for a household of 5 members which if had become a jurisprudence, it would hold yielded a excess of 10 lakh estates. The Ceiling Act in Bihar came into force much later in 1962. It provided that a landowner could reassign by manner of gift any land held by him to his boy or girl or anyone who would inherit such land. Due to this proviso, no excess land could be made available for redistribution ( * ) .
Another major loophole in the statute laws was that it exempted armored combat vehicle piscaries, groves, expeditiously managed farms and spiritual establishments from their horizon. As a effect landlords freely used the commissariats to hedge ceiling. Any agricultural land, with occasional fruit-bearing trees planted here and at that place ( grove ) , or any country with a little depression which held H2O in inundations could be kept out of the ceiling commissariats. Hence overnight the country of excess vesting in the custodies of the province authoritiess was reduced well. The landholders even had recourse to mala fide transportations of land to individuals non belonging to their households with a position to hedge ceiling. Often such transportations were made without the cognition of the transferee. This was rather prevailing in the province of West Bengal.
The statute law largely kept the ceiling degrees really high in most parts of the state which did non needfully cut down the inequalities in landholdings. It required every individual keeping land in surplus of the ceiling should supply a statement within a specified clip. Often it was found that the individuals concerned did non care to supply the needed statements. In such instances appropriate stairss were barely taken. The chief grounds behind this unsatisfactory province of personal businesss may be that the Revenue Departments in the assorted provinces, which were usually concerned with implementing the ceiling Torahs showed a strong prejudice in favor of the large landholders and the large landowning categories had a direct pull with those who were in power, whether in the provinces or at the Centre, and could convey in indirect force per unit area on painstaking officials of the authoritiess. There was besides the successful abolishment of mediators which resulted in over 20 million former renters going peasant owners. However, big sums were spent by the State in doling out compensations to the erstwhile landlords. Furthermore, the provinces did small to restrict the size of khudkasht farms or protect the rights of tenants-at-will and sharecrop farmers working in these farms ( 8 ) . Renting and sub-leasing continued to abound despite a prohibition on them. Besides on history of abuse of the doubtful and sick defined ‘personal cultivation ‘ clause, many landholders evicted renters on an unprecedented graduated table. Landlords largely were successful in haling renters into give uping their occupancies or change overing them into work-contracts. Even where Torahs guaranteed security of term of office, renters were non able to claim their rights owing to the informal and unwritten nature of their understandings. For case many provinces had bypassed Centre ‘s recommendations on just rent by repairing rent at one-third and one-half of the green goods. Those renters who initiated action to acquire just rents fixed found themselves immediately evicted. Such were the atrociousnesss inflicted upon the bulk of renters and sharecrop farmers.