[Land Ceiling] Phase 1: Since Independence to 1974 in India, Salient Features, Limitations, FailuresDevendra Vishwakarma
- Ceiling Phase 1: Freedom to 1972
- Salient Features
- Limitations/Failures of Land Ceiling (‘47-‘72)
- Negative#1: No redistribution
- Negative#2: Family vs Individual
- Negative#3: Land ceilings too high
- Negative#4: Exempted land categories
- Negative#5: Delay in Law Making
- Negative#6: History repeats
Ceiling Phase 1: Freedom to 1972
|1946||(just before freedom) All India Kisan Sabha demanded a maximum limit of landownership of 25 acres per landholder|
|1947||Economic Program committee headed by Nehru, Recommended, ‘The maximum size of holdings should be fixed. The surplus land over such a maximum should be acquired and placed at the disposal of the village’|
During this phase, Land ceiling reform ran on following principles/features:
- States were given freedom to fix land ceiling based on soil conditions, irrigation facilities, agrarian history of the region etc.
- States had to conduct census of landholdings and classify agriculture land into two parts:
|Classification of land||What to do here?|
Sounds good on paper? Yes. But Land Ceiling during this phase=EPICFAIL. Why?
Limitations/Failures of Land Ceiling (‘47-‘72)
Negative#1: No redistribution
|by the end of 1961||most states passed land ceiling Acts|
|by the end of 1970||
|by the end of 1970||
So why did this happen? Why didn’t land ceiling acts achieve desired result? Because of following reasons:
Negative#2: Family vs Individual
- Initially States imposed the land ceiling on individual and not on family.
- So big farmers transferred their land to sons, daughters, wives, relatives (sometimes even non-existent/dead family member) to avoid crossing the ceiling.
- Many states provided extra-ceiling if family exceeded five members. Example Andhra Pradesh had allowing 6 to 72 acres (depending on the nature of land) per ‘extra’ member of the family.
- In these day, there was no family planning= large sized family=very few families ‘crossed’ the land ceiling.
Thus, land ceiling definition itself defeated the noble purpose of land distribution.
Negative#3: Land ceilings too high
During this era, more than 70% of the landholdings were below 5 acres. Yet the ceilings were fixed too high, example:
|Andhra Pradesh||27-312 (depending on land quality)|
|Kerala||15 to 37.5 acres|
|Punjab||30 to 60 acres|
|West Bengal||25 acres|
|Maharashtra||18 to 126 acres|
Result? Very few people crossed the land ceiling. Hardly any surplus land taken away.
Negative#4: Exempted land categories
2nd Five year plan recommended following categories of land be exempted from “ceiling” laws:
- tea, coffee and rubber plantations, orchards,
- specialized farms engaged in cattle breeding, dairying, wool raising, etc.,
- sugarcane farms operated by sugar factories
- Efficiently managed farms on which heavy investments had been made.
- Land belonging to charitable trusts.
2nd Five year plan’s intention was good- it wanted to promote capitalist/progressive farming and make foundation for the future green revolution.