Social Scientist. v 17, no. 198-99 (Nov-Dec 1989) p. 83.


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CB. DAMLE*

Impact of Tenancy Legislation and Changing Agrarian Relations: A Case of Dakshina Kannada District^ Kamataka

The implementation of the Land Reforms Act had become imperative on (he part of the state governments after independence in India. The agrarian discontent had mounted to such an extent that various states had passed tenancy legislations in pie-independent India itself. The avowed purpose of such tenancy legislations had been to give protection to tenants against eviction from their lease-holdings. But the inherent weakness of these tenancy legislations was the provision that provided the landlords with power to resume their leased-out lands for personal cultivation which had a detrimental effect on the actual existence of tenants.

Even in independent India, the beginning was made in a rather clumsy way. The various tenancy legislations passed in the early 1950s by different state governments not only allowed the tenancy system to continue but the security of the tenants was at stake.1 For instance, the land policy in the First Five-Year Plan stated (hat, "the tenancies in future should ordinarily be for a period of five to ten years and should be renewable, resumption being permitted if the owner himself wishes to cultivate the land'.2 The tenants "were poor and generally they came from the scheduled castes and other backward sections of the society. They were in too weak a position both economically and socially to insist on their rights. Hence, the tenancy legislations implemented during the Hist Five-Year Plan failed miserably.3 It took quite a long time in most of the states for the implementation of a radical tenancy legislation that conferred on the tenants ownership rights on the leased-in lands. The situation in Kamataka state had been quite in consonance with this all-India phenomenon of the failure of tenancy legislations. Moreover, the Kamataka government was very slow in tackling the issue of tenancy4.

Though the official and academic evaluations testify to the fact that about.60 per cent of the erstwhile tenants have benefited by the implementation of land reforms in Kamataka,5 no significant changes could be located in agrarian class structure and relations. This

* Lecturer in Sociology, Nehm Memorial College, SulUa, Kamataka.



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