AGRICULTURE - 02
LAND AND LAND REFORMS
Land is the most important input in agriculture sector. The historical system of landholdings entwined in the caste system perpetuated by the zamindari system proved to be unequal and resulted in Farm Distress, Poverty, Lack Of Productivity etc. hence land reforms was one of the foremost agenda in agricultural sector after independence. Hence restructuring of the land ownership, regulation of tenancy rights was primary objective.
The latest agriculture census 201-16 gives a glimpse of the scenario these aspects:
The government classifies land holdings into five groups:
- Marginal – with holdings of less than one hectare
- Small – 1-2 hectares
- Semi-medium – 2-4 hectares
- Medium – 4-10 hectares
- Large holdings of over 10 hectares.
- Small and marginal farmers account for 86% of all farmers in India but own only 47% of crop area.
- Average land holding size is 0.6 hectares which is not enough for productivity or surplus or for livelihood also.
- The farmers holding 10 hectares and more account for just 0.57% and have a share of 9.04% in operational area.
- The total area under farming fell from 159.6 million hectares to 157.14 Mha.
- UP accounts for largest number of operational holdings
- The proportion of farms that are operated by women rose from 12.8 % to 13.9% showing feminization of agriculture.
Since independence, land reforms can be broadly categorised into the following:
- Abolition of Intermediaries
- Tenancy reforms
- Ceiling and redistribution
- Consolidation of land
- Land leasing
ABOLITION OF INTERMEDIARIES
The land tenure system such as ZAMINDARI, MAHALWARI AND RYOTWARI were abolished completely. States passed legislations abolishing these practices.
Under this the following steps were taken:
- Regulation of rent so that fixed rent could be paid by sharecroppers to landowners
- Security of tenure
- Ownership rights to tenants – legislative provisions have been made in many states for conferment of ownership rights on tenants. Some states acquired ownership from landholders and transferred it to tenants.
REORGANIZATION OF AGRICULTURE
The methods followed to redistribute the land among the farmers were:
- Land Ceiling – the excess land was taken and given to small or landless labours. It was successful in West Bengal, Kerala etc.
- Consolidation of land – the fragmented land was consolidated as land pooling. This was widely implemented in UP, Haryana, Punjab etc.
- Cooperative farming
The department of Land Resources, Ministry of Rural Development launched the national Land Records Modernization Programme in 2008 by merging the Computerization of land records and Strengthening of Revenue Administration and Upgrading of land records scheme of 1980s.
Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme (DILRMP) is a central sector scheme aimed at providing a system of updated and automated land records. It includes Computerization of records, survey and resurvey and digital registration.
- Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (LARR Act, 2013)
The act defines the purposes for which government can acquire private land. It has a provision for Social impact assessment. It specifies the rates of compensation to be given for land acquisition. There are provision for compensation and rehabilitation of agricultural landholders. State Governments have to setup dispute settlement Chairman must be a district judge or lawyer for 7 years. Institutional mechanism for accountability is also given.
- The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015
Model land leasing law 2016
The Model Land Lease Act, 2016 prepared and approved by the NITI Aayog offers an appropriate template for the states and UTs to draft their own piece of legislations, in consonance with the local requirements and adopt an enabling Act.
Legalise land leasing to promote agricultural efficiency, equity and power reduction. This will also help in much needed productivity improvement in agriculture as well as occupational mobility of the people and rapid rural change.
Through this act, the landlord can legally lease the land with mutual consent for agriculture and allied activities. In this act, it has been taken care that in any circumstances the leased holders’ claim on land will not be valid.
Lease holder may receive institutional loan, insurance and disaster relief so that he may invest more and more in agriculture.
Allow automatic resumption of land after the agreed lease period without requiring any minimum area of land to be left with the tenant even after termination of tenancy, as laws of some states require.
Incentivise tenants to make investment in land improvement and also entitle them to get back the unused value of investment at the time of termination of tenancy.
In order to resolve the dispute between the landlord and lease holder, the provision of “Special Land Tribunal” has been made in the Civil Court.
India is ranked 102 out of 117 countries in Global Hunger Index (2019). Agriculture, food production, poverty and hunger and interrelated and hence food security becomes an important part of Agricultural policy.
Provision of minimum nutritional support to the poor through subsidised food grains and ensuring price stability are the twin objectives of food security system. It means accessibility and affordability of food to all. The government has devised several programmes and mechanisms to achieve food security.
PROCUREMENT AND STOCK
The government procures large amount of food grains from farmers through the mandi, MSP etc and maintains the stock with FCI (Food Corporation of India).
It is a statutory body under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Government of India, formed by the enactment of Food Corporation Act 1964. To implement the following objectives of the National Food Policy:
- Effective price support operations for safeguarding the interests of the poor farmers
- Distribution of food grains throughout the country for Public Distribution System (PDS)
- Maintaining a satisfactory level of operational and buffer stocks of food grains to ensure National Food Security
- Regulate market price to provide food grains to consumers at a reliable price