2023 GS3 Answer

Q. State the objectives and measures of land reforms in India. Discuss how land ceiling policy on landholding can be considered as an effective reform under economic criteria.

Question from UPSC Mains 2023 GS3 Paper

Model Answer: 

Land Reforms in India

Land reforms in India refer to the redistribution of agricultural land from the wealthy landowners to the poor land cultivators. The primary goal of these reforms is to abolish the feudal land system and bring equality in the ownership of land. The land reforms in India were introduced after independence with the objective of reducing income disparities, enhancing agricultural productivity, and promoting social justice.

Objectives of Land Reforms in India:

1. Abolition of Intermediaries: One of the primary objectives of land reforms was to abolish intermediaries like zamindars, jagirdars, etc., who were exploiting the actual cultivators. The abolition of intermediaries aimed at establishing a direct relationship between the government and the cultivators.

2. Tenancy Reforms: The tenancy reforms aimed at providing security of tenure to the tenants. The tenants were given the right to possess and cultivate the land leased out by the landlords.

3. Land Ceiling: The land ceiling policy was introduced to fix the maximum size of land that could be held by an individual or a family. The surplus land was to be distributed among the landless and small farmers.

4. Consolidation of Land Holdings: The consolidation of land holdings aimed at bringing scattered pieces of land into one compact block to increase agricultural efficiency.

5. Cooperative Farming: The objective of cooperative farming was to pool the resources of small and marginal farmers to increase their bargaining power and reduce the cost of production.

Measures of Land Reforms in India:

1. The government enacted several laws to abolish intermediaries and transfer the ownership of land to the actual cultivators.
2. The government fixed the maximum size of land that could be held by an individual or a family. The surplus land was distributed among the landless and small farmers.
3. The government provided security of tenure to the tenants and regulated the rent.
4. The government initiated the consolidation of land holdings to increase agricultural efficiency.
5. The government promoted cooperative farming to pool the resources of small and marginal farmers.

Land Ceiling as an Effective Reform:

The land ceiling policy can be considered an effective reform under economic criteria for several reasons. Firstly, it helps in reducing income disparities by distributing surplus land among the landless and small farmers. Secondly, it promotes agricultural productivity by preventing the fragmentation of land. Thirdly, it encourages the optimal use of land resources.

For example, in the state of West Bengal, the implementation of land ceiling and redistribution of surplus land among the landless has resulted in a significant increase in agricultural productivity and a reduction in rural poverty.

Conclusion:

Land reforms in India have played a crucial role in promoting social justice and reducing income disparities. However, the implementation of these reforms has been uneven across the states. Therefore, there is a need for a more effective implementation of land reforms to achieve the goal of an equitable distribution of land and enhance agricultural productivity.

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