2 May 2024 : Daily Answer Writing

Q1) Comment on the achievements and failures of land reforms.

(150 Words/10 Marks)

Land reforms refers to programmes and measures meant for effective ownership and use of land for the benefit of agrarian economy. The basic purpose of land reforms is to reduce inequalities in landholding and to increase farm productivity.

The achievements of land reforms in post-independent India can be seen from:

  1. Abolition of zamindari system ensured direct relationship between the state and landholders. This ensured effective measures for land improvement.
  2. Tenancy Reforms ensured protecting the rights of tenants and providing them with security of tenure. These were particularly successful in communist states like Kerala and West Bengal.
  3. Land consolidation measures that were successful in Punjab, Haryana and Western UP provided foundation for the success of Green Revolution in these states
  4. Increased literacy and awareness regarding land rights and constitutional provisions related to them
  5. Improvements in agricultural productivity as landless farmers had a stronger incentive to invest in their land and adopt better agricultural practices after getting ownership rights.
  6. Redistribution of Land promoted more equitable land ownership, hence reducing rural poverty.


Despite reasonable success of land reforms distributed spatially, its objectives remain unfulfilled as:

  1. Land ceiling were made ineffective by benami transactions. Also, plantation gardens, religious and charitable institutions were exempted.
  2. Legal-constitutional challenges:
  3. a) The reforms evaded consensus building. There was lack of constitutional rectitude which set a bad precedent in name of ‘benevolent authoritarianism.’

E.g., first constitutional amendment before the first elections were held.

  1. b) Further, litigations due to rights’ violations delayed implementation of reforms.

E.g., Golaknath case gave a sacrosanct status to the Fundamental Rights (right to property)

  1. Resistance from Landowners slowed down the reform process.

E.g., failure of tenancy reforms in most states.

  1. Continuation of poor land records system due to issues of corruption and poor governance.
  2. Land consolidation failed in eastern states because the farmers were reluctant to exchange their small fertile lands for consolidated waste lands. Joint cooperative farming failed mainly due to divided rural society.
  3. The strong farming lobby with deep political inroads influenced policy making, limiting the success of land reforms.

Land reforms are an ongoing process. Technology-assisted reforms such as SWAMITVA scheme for clear land titles and Digital India Land Records Modernisation Programme promise to overcome the challenges of past. Also, the state governments should take a lead in improving the land management systems,

e.g., Bhoomi project of Karnataka.

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