Land reforms started in India post-independence, with significant legislation enacted in 1950 to redistribute land ownership.



Land reforms started in India post-independence, with significant legislation enacted in the early 1950s to redistribute land ownership. In the history of the world, we have seen the politics of expansionism from Chagez Khan to Napoleon and Hitler due to geographical supremacy, the main reason of which has been to gain more and more land. Through this article, we will try to know how the modern revenue system has been from the Mughal period till today. It is not that no laws were made to levy tax on the land from the Mughal period, but whatever the king wanted was considered as law in the monarchy. That’s why different mediums have been used to collect tax.

In monarchy, the land was owned by the king and the people used to work on it, whatever production / crop was produced, some part of it had to be given to the king. Whether the king was good or bad, the farmers were exploited by the people appointed in the middle. That’s why farming in India could never develop as a business from the beginning. Mentioning this in his book The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith explains this as the main reason for the hindrance in India’s economic development.

That’s why today we will try to study what efforts have been made for land reform after India’s independence. There are mainly 10 such laws which are known as land laws which are made by the central government. After the independence of India, every state has been given the right to make policies for itself, in which its own land laws have been made. We will try to know how land law was started in India and how effective was this policy of land reform.

History of the Land laws in India –

Mainly in the Mughal period and British India, the basis of today’s survey system was formed, in which the practice of purchase and sale of land is seen in British India. In 1540, survey started for the first time in the Rajpat of Shahenshah Suri, whose main reason was to collect tax. This method was further developed while coming to Akbar’s palace, in which this business was surveyed for the first time through the finance officer Tordamal of a very large area of ​​India. Agricultural sector It was considered the most important source of revenue for the monarchy.

Popular words like gaj and biga for measuring land are seen in this period which are still used today and are mainly seen more in northern India. Directly in the monarchy, the polity could not collect taxes from all the places, so gradually this system was run by appointing officers like landlords. In the time of Shah Jahan, we get to see the Khot system, which has been a very exploitative system. In the British system, we get to see the tax system through many reforms by the British, in which a lot of corruption started happening in the East India Company and we get to see the revenue system like Mahalwari, Ryotwari by the British Crown.

Many reforms were brought by the British in British India, but all were unsuccessful because this revenue system started taking more than 50% revenue from the farmers, due to which most of the farmers were unable to pay this fee, due to which the practice of selling such lands and keeping mortgages was given to us. Can be seen at the same time. Earlier, the land was used only for agriculture, but in the British rule, land transactions started taking place. The zamindar used to act as an intermediary between the farmer and the British government, which was the owner of most of the land, and he used to plow the fields from the farmers and pay revenue to the British.

Important Land Reform Laws of India  –

  • the indian stamp act 1899
  • the registration act 1908
  • Transfer of Property Act, 1882
  • Indian Easement Act 1882
  • Indian Contract Rule 1872
  • the land acquisition act 1894
  • Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA)
  • Land Acquisition Rehabilitation Act 2013 / Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013

Land Reform Law in Independent India  –

In independent India, more than 70% of the society was connected to the agriculture sector, but the previous revenue system never allowed the agriculture sector to emerge and due to this, most of the landless people started migrating for upbringing. Due to industrialization, people started getting employment in the cities and we have got to see this mostly loss deal in agriculture. That’s why the Government of India faced the biggest problem of land reform, that was the sky-wide distribution of land in the society, in which people like Zamindari, Jagirdari used to own thousands of acres of land.

The second most important reason for land reform was that the distribution of agriculture from generation to generation saw a decline in agricultural production, due to which most of the farmers started doing agriculture at a loss and their area of ​​cultivation became smaller. The agriculture sector’s share in India’s growth rate was only 13%, which was very important for the government to increase, so mainly changes were made.

  • A limit was fixed for land acquisition, which is called ceiling.
  • Consolidation / Aggregation of land This technique was done by making a law.
  • Land use reforms were brought about through cooperative system.
  • The one who tills the land is the owner of the land. Such intermediary system (zamindar) has been abolished.
    Land tenant laws were made.

After 1990, there were economic reforms in India and the use of land was not limited only to the agricultural sector, it started using land through urbanization and industrialization and the importance of land started increasing all of a sudden, problems and disputes started increasing. From which we see that after the independence of India, as the need for reforms is seen in the land law, similarly we get to see it after the economic liberalization. After economic liberalization, the scope of agricultural sector decreased and for setting up factories, the land was used to build houses in urbanization and the government suddenly started increasing revenue from other such areas.

Objectives of Land Law Reforms –

  • There was a lot of disparity in relation to the ownership of land before the land reform, landlords had thousands of acres of land and on the other hand there was a need for land reform to remove the number of landless people on a large scale.
  • The land related laws in British India were only for collecting revenue, which after independence needed to be reformed keeping in view the social interest.
  • Due to the increase in family share generation after generation, a lot of land was being formed, due to which the productivity of the land was decreasing, so it was necessary to bring many reforms.
  • After 1990, only agricultural land was not important to the economy, but industrial land, habitable land due to urbanization, how did the government get such sources of production, so that different laws had to be made to end the production dependence on the agriculture sector.
  • After the independence of India, the intermediary practice like Zamindari had to be stopped and rights had to be given to the tillers, so changes were necessary in the Tenant Law and Succession Law.
  • To distribute the land on the basis of equality and to increase the agricultural productivity, many schemes were to be implemented so that the agricultural sector could increase the economic development of India.
  • Under the land selling law, there was a need to limit the purchase of land, so that the limit can be brought to keep the property, and disparity should be removed, so that social structure could be encouraged to develop.
  • It was necessary to bring dignity to use the agricultural land for any other purpose because it was necessary for the right amount of food grains to be available to the growing population of India.
  • After 1990, many reforms were necessary to bring all the records of land area safe and secure through technology.
  • Due to the open economic system after economic liberalisation, it was necessary to mold India’s land related law according to international law, for which the purpose of international agreement and the United Nations was to be implemented.

Features of Land Reforms Law  –

  • In the monarchy, the land of any state area belonged to the king, and the people who plowed / cultivate the land in the agricultural sector had to pay tax to that king, if anyone was unable to pay this tax, the other person was allowed to plow that land.
  • In the British Raj, East India Company and the British Crown, land laws are seen in two such parts, in which the British Crown had to bring new reforms in view of the corruption of the East India Company.
  • Reforms in independent India mainly have two parts, in which the time after independence and the changes in liberalization after 1990.
  • We get to see the practice of buying, selling and mortgaging land for the first time in British India and the ownership of land started in British India.
  • In the time of Sher Shah Suru and Akbar, we get to see the development of the system of modern land graph, which is considered to be the basic basis of today’s land graph.
  • Poor land reform schemes in British India resulted in the loss of millions of lives due to the 19th century drought in West Bengal and the importance of agriculture sector in agricultural production and development of the country was not given priority.
  • After the independence of India, the biggest problem in front of the country was skyrocketing ownership of land, in which exploitative system like Zamindari like Khot system was run, due to which the agriculture sector never developed.
  • After 1990, due to the economic liberalization, there were changes in the economy running only on the basis of agriculture sector in India and the government started mixing a large amount of tax production from the industrial, technology and service sector.
  • Agricultural reforms were brought to save the agricultural sector, in which laws were made to increase production by giving cultivation area at one place instead of farming in pieces, say through cooperation.
  • In independent India, a lot of sari has been given to the production of agricultural sector, whose main objective is to provide compensation to the farmers for the exploitation and development of the farmers, which has been happening for the last many years.
  • If we look at today’s situation in the agriculture sector, most of the farmers are reducing the agriculture sector by selling their land, in which industrialization and urbanization have played an important role, due to which there is a lot of limitation on agricultural production.

What were the main challenges that land reforms faced in India?

Land reforms in India have faced various challenges, both political and practical. Here are some of the main challenges that have hindered the success of land reforms in India:

  1. Political resistance: Land reforms have often been met with political resistance from powerful landowning groups, who fear losing their land and influence. This resistance has often led to delays in the implementation of land reforms and weakened their effectiveness.
  2. Inadequate implementation: Even when land reforms have been implemented, there have been problems with their execution. Implementation has often been hindered by inadequate administrative capacity, corruption, and a lack of political will.
  3. Limited scope of reforms: The scope of land reforms in India has often been limited, focusing only on certain regions or certain types of land. This has resulted in uneven distribution of land and limited benefits for many marginalized communities.
  4. Inadequate support for beneficiaries: Even when land reforms have been successfully implemented, beneficiaries have often lacked the necessary support, such as access to credit, technical assistance, and market information, to make productive use of the land they receive.
  5. Legal challenges: Land reforms have also faced legal challenges, with powerful landowners often resorting to legal action to challenge land redistribution and other reforms.

In conclusion, land reforms in India have faced various challenges, including political resistance, inadequate implementation, limited scope, inadequate support for beneficiaries, and legal challenges. Addressing these challenges will be critical to achieving the goals of land reforms in India, including promoting social justice, reducing poverty and inequality, and improving agricultural productivity.

What are the benefits of land reforms?

Land reforms in India have been aimed at promoting social justice and improving the distribution of land. The benefits of land reforms in India can vary depending on the specific policies implemented, but here are some general benefits:

  1. Reducing poverty and inequality: One of the primary goals of land reforms in India is to provide land to landless farmers and reduce poverty and inequality. By redistributing land to small farmers, land reforms can help to reduce rural poverty and promote social equity.
  2. Increasing agricultural productivity: Land reforms can lead to more efficient and productive use of land. By providing land to small farmers, who are more likely to make productive use of it, agricultural productivity can be increased, leading to higher yields and more food production.
  3. Promoting economic growth: Land reforms can promote economic growth by encouraging investment in agriculture, which can generate jobs and boost local economies. Additionally, by promoting land ownership for marginalized communities, land reforms can help to create opportunities for economic empowerment.
  4. Environmental sustainability: Land reforms can promote environmental sustainability by encouraging land use practices that are environmentally friendly. By promoting sustainable agriculture, land reforms can help to reduce soil erosion, improve water conservation, and reduce the use of harmful chemicals in farming.
  5. Political stability: Land reforms can promote political stability by reducing social conflict over land ownership. By promoting greater equity in land ownership, land reforms can reduce tensions and conflicts between different social groups, improving political stability.

In conclusion, land reforms in India can have significant benefits for society by promoting economic growth, social equity, agricultural productivity, environmental sustainability, and political stability. These benefits can be achieved through policies such as land redistribution, tenancy reforms, and land-use planning, among others.

Critical Analysis of Land Reforms Law  –

  • After the independence of India, the landlord and intermediary system was abolished by making a law, but in reality the landlords ended the effect of this law by giving the ownership of the land to their own relatives.
  • Most of the kings, the British Government or the Government of India did not pay much attention to the production capacity of the agricultural sector, modernization, economic planning, due to which we may have to depend on other countries for agricultural production in future.
  • Due to industrialization, urbanization, the scope of agriculture sector gradually decreased, due to which instead of increasing the share of agriculture sector in the development of the country, it decreased.
  • After the independence of India, many important laws were made by the Government of India, whose effect on the ground level has been a matter of amendment.
  • Recently we have seen that agricultural reforms were brought in which there was a lot of opposition, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and some parts of Uttar Pradesh, who want this dream in private hands by ending the ancient government structure of the agriculture sector.
  • Except in the northern region like Punjab and Haryana, we see that farmers have been getting less and less area for plowing from generation to generation, due to which the dependence on agricultural sector has decreased.
  • Smallholder farmers could not support their families only from agricultural production, so some people started migrating to the cities, due to which the production of agricultural sector has dropped significantly for the last 70 years, even though the production capacity has increased to some extent due to the Green Revolution.
  • In the Green Revolution, most of the farmers gave more priority to the cultivation of wheat, rice and sugarcane, there was a great impact on India’s natural productivity and we saw a decline in the fertile capacity of the land, in which the agricultural schools working for agricultural improvement were largely have failed.
  • To what extent chemical farming should be encouraged, India’s agricultural laws seem to have failed, in which new serious problems have arisen due to the large amount of chemical used in agricultural production.

Conclusion –

Land Reform Policy and Land Reform Law in India are two separate extended subjects which are quite complex but both subjects are related to each other. We get to see very little use of land reform policy in monarchy, because land reform means equality and social justice among all citizens, which are rarely seen in this system of governance. Same after the second world war, we get to see modern democratic system in Asian countries where there should be some social security for the majority of the weaker sections.

Today, the developed European countries which we see as an ideal democratic model, the most violence and murders for the land are seen in history. Such a violent history is not seen in Asian countries. The land of China and India is considered to be the most fertile land in the world, which is said to complement the natural environment. The importance of land has been very important for governance and for agricultural production. Many rulers came to India but we see more influence of Mughal and British rulers.

We get to see many types of agricultural reforms by the Mughal and British rulers, but they were made keeping their income in front. We get to see the real land reforms after independence where land reforms were done by keeping the weaker sections of the society in front. How effective the land reforms proved to be is a matter of analysis but it was a big thing that the weak people of the society were thought to have land ownership in India. That’s why we have seen many laws related to land, which have come from British India and in independent India, different laws were made considering the land reform policy at many points. In this way we have seen how the land reform system is seen and we have seen the land related laws which are very important.


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