An Assessment Of Its Implementation And Its Implications Economics Essay

The existent cause of India ‘s poorness must non be sought in disease or illiteracy, which are but symptoms, nor yet in Indian imposts and beliefs, nor once more in the population figures, but in the economic organisation on which the whole life of the state is based.[ 1 ]


India is blessed with a burgeoning economic system whose GDP expanded at the mean rate of 9.06 % from 2005-2008 and swelling foreign exchange militias which touched 316.80 billion dollars as of July 29, 2011.[ 2 ]Yet India ‘s plentiful wealth and wealths is in striking apposition with its distressing poorness and hungriness statistics and it has emerged as a state of utmost paradoxes. Rural countries place to some 68.84 % Indians, most of who are hapless, marginalized and depend on agribusiness as their chief beginning of income. More than 400 million people in India still do n’t hold entree to electricity.[ 3 ]Global Hunger Index 2008, estimates that India has near to 350 million people who are “ nutrient insecure ” – significance they are non certain where their following repast will come from. The state is coping with countless jobs such as poorness, illiteracy, malnutrition, deficiency of safe imbibing H2O and sanitation.

The root cause of India ‘s retardation is the backward nature of its agricultural economic system, which continues to be in such a province chiefly because of the authorities ‘s inability to set about a thoroughgoing land reforms post Independence. To cite Hartwell “ there are no illustrations of industrialization and growing in any of the major economic systems of the universe, which were non preceded or accompanied by an agricultural transmutation ” .[ 4 ]The economic success of East Asia ( Japan, South Korea and Taiwan ) is mostly attributed to the fact in all these states extensive land reforms were undertaken. These land reforms had the consequence of extinguishing the exploitatory landlord category and thereby lending to rapid economic growing by puting down the footing for an just distribution of the benefits of growing.[ 5 ]In this context the paper aims to analyze the characteristics of the land reform policy in India, assess its execution and document its impact on future development of agribusiness and economic development as a whole.


The agricultural state of affairs in India at the clip of Independence was pathetic. During the four decennaries predating 1947, nutrient grain end product grew by a mere 12 % , while the population grew by over 40 % , ensuing in a diminution in per capita nutrient handiness. There was utmost concentration of land ownership and monolithic prevalence of rack-renting. There was insecurity of term of office which sapped the life out of rural common people and big scale prevalence of vigorish. All these characteristics cumulatively created conditions whereby there was really small inducement to set about productive investing in agribusiness. The ordinary provincials and sharecrop farmers were choking under force per unit area from the “ unhallowed three of landlord-moneylender-trader ”[ 6 ]and had to set up with rack rental and insecurity of term of office. They therefore had small incentive to put in bettering productiveness. On the other manus the landlords found it more profitable to “ populate on pull outing rent, exorbitant involvements and trading net income out of an destitute peasantry, instead than travel in for productivity-raising investing. ”[ 7 ]Thorner tried to explicate this bound on the coevals of higher land productiveness in the Indian countryside by utilizing the term “ constitutional depressor ” which refers to “ a composite of historical, societal and economic factors that acted as a formidable block against the modernization of Indian agribusiness. ”[ 8 ]He farther says that the British had left behind in India “ possibly the universe ‘s most stubborn land job. ”[ 9 ]


Even before India shed off its colonial yoke in 1947, the issue of how the agricultural inquiry will be resolved became a major bone of contention within the nationalist motion. Two outstanding groups emerged in this argument. On one manus were the “ institutionalists ” who put forth the statement that what India required was a extremist reorganisation of land ownership patterns which will convey approximately non merely a democratisation of rural society, and resuscitate the independent “ peasant economic system ” but would besides increase the productiveness of land. They raised the motto “ land to the tiller ” .[ 10 ]They besides argued in favor of the position that smaller land retentions will take to higher productiveness.[ 11 ]On the other terminal of the spectrum were those who argued that the solution did non lie in redistribution of land but on reorientation of the landlords, by actuating them to cultivate their ain land utilizing pay labor and doing usage of modern engineering. Harmonizing to them land reforms would merely interrupt up land into little and unviable retentions which will present troubles in application of modern engineering.[ 12 ]

However the existent land reform policy was non based on political orientation but was shaped by political relations of those times. The Indian State opted to reorganise the agricultural dealingss through redistribution of land, but the mode adopted was non comprehensive and extremist. In most instances land reform implemented was partial.[ 13 ]It was described as “ sectoral or sectional reforms ” by assorted writers.[ 14 ]The purpose of these reforms was to take all such “ motivational and other hindrances to increase in agricultural system ” and secondly to take all signifiers of development and societal unfairness within the agricultural system.[ 15 ]Under the authorities of India waies, the province authoritiess[ 16 ]passed statute laws in an effort to procure the aims of land policy laid down in the Five Year Plan. The Plan called for get rid ofing intermediary term of offices, confabulating ownership rights on renters, modulating rent and occupancy rights, enforcing ceilings on retentions, administering the excess land among the rural hapless, and easing consolidation of retentions. There was strong accent on abolishment of Zamindari non merely because they were extremely oppressive in their operation but besides because they had identified themselves as steadfast protagonist of the colonial authorities.[ 17 ]In the aftermath of these directives from the authorities, a immense figure of statute laws were passed by different provinces within a really short span. These big figure of statute laws led Thorner to note that they could be “ the largest organic structure of agricultural statute laws to hold been passed in so brief a span of old ages in any state whose history has been recorded ”[ 18 ]


No affair what was mentioned on paper, the existent execution of these statute laws and their impact on the agricultural constructions remained an wholly different narrative. Below I make an effort to measure the execution under assorted sub-headings:


Frequently the decrease in the position of the traditional rent receiving systems ( the zamindars/ mediators ) , as per the statute laws enacted, has been hailed as a through traveling agricultural revolution, emancipating the agriculturists from a long period of subjection. The at odds sentiment is that, this step while bing the province authoritiess a batch in footings of compensation paid out to erstwhile zamindars, failed to convey about any cardinal alteration in economic and societal state of affairs in the rural countries. Therefore there is a demand to analyze both these state of affairss in greater item before siding with either of the places.[ 19 ]

It was mostly observed that the mediators managed to besiege the statute law by working the legal loophole in it, which allowed them to keep unrestricted rubric to set down under their “ personal cultivation ” . The definition of personal cultivation was non clearly spelled out. It did non necessitate either manual work or yearlong abode near farm, nor was there any clear proviso necessitating supervisory activity on the portion of the landlord. Hence land which was retained by the landlords under the stalking-horse of personal cultivation therefore could go on to be cultivated by sharecrop farmers if necessary disguised by agricultural workers.[ 20 ]Besides the expectancy of land reform statute law brought about a monolithic moving ridge of eviction of renters. Although some province statute law provided an upper bound to the land that could be resumed for personal cultivation, the zamindars in collusion with the administrative officials managed to retain control over land much above the legal bound.[ 21 ]Some landlords delayed the execution of the statute law by destructing their records. Another scheme by which they escaped the statute law was by redistributing land on paper among relations.

Even the Zamindari land which was made available to redistribution was allocated amongst the “ cultivating castes ” in the small town, irrespective of the fact whether they performed any farm work or non.[ 22 ]The transportation of land from mediators to agriculturists was hence non reassign to existent tillers of the dirt. The sub renters and sharecrop farmers drew practically no benefit from these reforms,[ 23 ]except in those parts where the peasantry was politically mobilized and could exercise force per unit area from below.[ 24 ]For illustration the execution of land reforms was much more effectual in parts like Kashmir, Kerala and West Bengal.

However despite their overall failure, land reforms succeeded in weakening the clasp of absentee landlords over the rural society who had reigned till this clip as semi-feudal heads. It altered the power construction in small towns by helping in the outgrowth of a “ category of significant provincials and junior-grade landlords as the dominant political and economic group ”[ 25 ]. It laid down the footing for the possible development of Indian agribusiness on capitalist lines. Though such alterations were far from satisfactory it was an of import beginning however.


The destiny of the land ceiling statute law was besides doomed from the really start, because even before it was imposed, expectancy of such statute law caused a “ concatenation of fake land minutess all over the state. ”[ 26 ]Besides land keeping were reduced in size on paper by pro forma transportations to household members. As the Third Five Year program observed “ on the whole, it would be right to state that, in recent old ages, transportations of land have tended to get the better of the purposes of the statute law for ceilings and to cut down its impact in the rural economic system. ”[ 27 ]Yet the statute law was advocated on the evidences of societal justness.

Occupancy REFORMS

Tenancy statute law was enacted was to supply fix just rents and provide security of term of office to renters. Gunnar Mydral calls this type of attack that seeks to better the predicament of the renters while go forthing the landlord in ownership of his land as a “ via media solution, both politically and economically ” .[ 28 ]The execution of Tenancy Reform Torahs besides met with failure on history of illiteracy and ignorance of renters, and even when they were cognizant of their rights, they were excessively socially and economically weak to claim the same.[ 29 ]Economically the renters depended on the landlords who besides serve as usurers for recognition and other necessities of life. Socially the renters normally belonged to backward and scheduled castes. In many instances renters were bullied into “ voluntarily ” repudiation of their rentals. Another failing of such a statute law was that its execution was left to civil retainers who were non adequately qualified for the occupation and were by and large hostile to renters.[ 30 ]

Therefore to reason Land Reforms in India have mostly been a failure is good substantiated by available informations. Between 1947-2007, the figure of families that received land is merely 5.4 million. Between this 60 twelvemonth period the sum of land redistributed was merely 4.89 million estates of land, which accounts for less than 2 % of the entire cultivated country.[ 31 ]. The entire extent of land over which renters are conferred ownership rights histories for less than 4 per cent of the entire country cultivated.[ 32 ]


The Nehru-Mahalanobis old ages ( from 1947-1964 ) which favoured industrialisation, in the context of a larger development scheme treated agribusiness as a “ deal sector ” , i.e. sector where end product can be increased with really small extra investing.[ 33 ]Although between 1951-52 and 1959-60, there was a important addition in production, nevertheless this was due to favorable monsoons and enlargement of land area and non give.[ 34 ]Production stagnated by the mid-60s and two failed monsoons one after the other in 1965 and 1966 pushed the state to the threshold of dearth. By the mid-60s, nevertheless, it was clear that Nehru-Mahalanobis needed to be discarded. With the decease of Nehru in 1964, there was a decisive displacement in India ‘s agribusiness policy. The period between 1964 and 1967, saw a cardinal displacement in scheme from an institutional theoretical account to a technocratic 1. The new theoretical account had three constituents: economic, technological and organizational. The economic facet constituted monetary value inducements, recognition support, input subsidy support and selling support, in order to actuate husbandmans to bring forth more. Second constituent required investings in engineering to increase outputs ; and third called for making new establishments to back up the other two constituents.[ 35 ]

In pursuit of such a scheme an Intensive Agricultural Development Programme ( IADP ) was launched, under direct supervising of the Ford Foundation in 1961, ab initio in 14 territories on an experimental footing. It was subsequently extended to 114 territories ( out of a sum of 325 ) under the name of Intensive Agriculture Areas Programme ( IAAP ) in 1965.The experiments of intensive agribusiness were extended to cover the full state after 1966-7. It is this New Agricultural Strategy ( NAS ) that is credited with what came to be known as the ‘green revolution ‘ .

The Green Revolution led to a significant addition in agricultural end product. The end product of food-grains shot up from 89 million metric tons in 1964-65 which was the best twelvemonth before the NAS came to be implemented, to around 107 million metric tons by1973-74.[ 36 ]It solved India ‘s nutrient deficit job to a great extent. This was a believable accomplishment as M. S. Swaminathan pointed out ; it “ established the linkage between sovereignty and nutrient autonomy ” .[ 37 ]

However there were terrible restrictions to this scheme. Green revolution wholly bypassed the issue of inequality in agricultural dealingss and avoided the inquiry of reforms wholly. This caused the benefits of the green revolution to stay unequal with a “ region-wise, crop-wise and class-wise concentration of production. ”[ 38 ]The focal point of the NAS was on parts that were bosomy with irrigation, on merely two harvests ( rice and wheat ) and on subdivisions of the peasantry that could mobilise the investing necessary to follow the new engineering.[ 39 ]Green revolution techniques called for higher investing which due to deficiency of entree to recognition was hard for little husbandmans to follow. The renters, peculiarly insecure sharecrop farmers, were even worse off because due to the lifting income and land values, landholders ejected them from their land and brought the land under their direct cultivation.[ 40 ]There is ample of grounds to demo that the benefits of green revolution were unevenly shared with the majority of the additions accruing to the large husbandmans, thereby further worsening the disparity between large and little husbandmans.

After the jet in production in the stage of green revolution the nutrient grain production tapered off. Indian agribusiness has non seen any large technological discovery since the 1960s and agribusiness has stagnated since so. This has led to the call for new or a 2nd “ Green Revolution ” for agricultural sector in recent old ages from assorted quarters.[ 41 ]The institutional option of extremist land redistribution has been wholly forgotten. In this respect it is deserving citing Mydral that “ there can be no advancement in India ‘s agribusiness and nutrient production unless the societal establishments are adapted to the proficient demands of scientific agribusiness, merely as big scale irrigation and drainage system of inundation protection require institutional agreements in harmoniousness with engineering ” and further “ publicity of societal and economic equality is a pre status for achieving significant long term additions in production. ”[ 42 ]


There is ample grounds from all parts of the universe that good designed land reforms can travel a long manner in lending to decrease in poorness, addition in efficiency, and is capable of set uping the footing for sustained growing. There is a consensus amongst the experts that land reforms in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, played a major function in get the better ofing the bequest of colonialism. Furthermore economic theory is now clear that a erstwhile redistribution of assets can, in an environment where markets are imperfect, be associated with for good higher degrees of growing. This is in crisp contrast to what has been predicted by earlier development theoretical accounts most notably by Kaldor and Kuznets. Redistribution can really be good for growing.[ 43 ]If a land reform plan is good designed, it can hold a big impact on equity every bit good as productiveness.

Utsa Patnaik argues that land reform is of import non merely from the point of redistributive justness but there is ample grounds in history that it is every bit necessary from the view-point of a “ faster rate of passage of higher productiveness through rapid capital formation within the agricultural sector, which in bend affects the rate of industrialization through the rate of enlargement of the domestic market for mass ingestion goods and through the supply of pay goods and natural stuffs to industry ” Inability to implement a thoroughgoing land reform therefore has reverberations as it retards the development of productive forces, it restricts labour mobility and rewards depressed through the usage of extra-economic relations.If we contrast the experiences of India and China, equal distribution of land ownership is shown to hold made a important part to human development indexs, in China as compared to India.

Another manner the inability to transport out a thoroughgoing land reform has affected economic development in India is by the elect gaining control of strategies. Elites and elect gaining control have been defined as – ” histrions who have disproportional influence on the development procedure as a consequence of their superior societal, political or economic position ” while elect gaining control refers to the “ state of affairss, where the elites shape development processes harmonizing to their ain precedences and/or appropriate development resources for private addition ”[ 44 ]. In India, the elect gaining control is seeable in many development undertakings initiated by the authorities. Elite gaining control is about certain to happen in the absence of effectual authorization of the weak groups in extremely unequal and caste-based societies.[ 45 ]Inability to transport out throughgoing land reforms has perpetuated inequality in the Indian small towns. The highly inegalitarian character of the agricultural construction is clearly one of the root causes for the failure of the Community Development Programme launched in 1952 with exalted purposes. The majority of the benefits of the programme went to significant landholders. The landless agricultural workers, sharecrop farmers and little provincials derived really small benefit from it.[ 46 ]

Other development programmes which were launched subsequently on met with the same destiny. The NREP ( National Rural Employment Programme ) and IRDP ( Intensive Rural Development Programme ) , meant for the rural hapless, have besides led to the farther enrichment of the rural rich through the edifice of substructure installations such as roads and through the contract work for stuffs transport undertaken by the tractor- and truck-owning landlords, every bit good as supply of stuffs like bricks from landlord-owned brick-kilns.[ 47 ]

The most recent rural development programme, the Mahatma GandhiA National Rural Employment Guarantee Act is confronting “ opposition from landlords whose control over labor is threatened by the handiness of employment chances outside their authorization ”[ 48 ]


In short it would n’t be incorrect to reason that failure to set about a extremist and comprehensive land reform station Independence has perpetuated inequality and has determined India ‘s growing flight, and every bit long every bit long as these structural inequalities in the Indian society persists, the fruits of development are bound to be most unevenly distributed with the weaker subdivisions having the smallest parts.