Social Scientist. v 6, no. 66-67 (Jan-Feb 1978) p. 50.


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RA TAN GHOSH K NAGARAJ

Land Reforms In West Bengal

IT DOES not need repetition that the gap between promise and performance as regards land reforms in India has been very wide. The promise was ^to remove such motivational and other impediments to an increase in agricultural production as arise from the agrarian structure inherited from the past, and secondly, to eliminate all elements of exploitation and social injustice within the agrarian system so as to ensure equality of status and opportunity to all sections of the population."1 These objectives were to be achieved by ^abolishing all intermediary interests between the State and the tiller of the soil, regulating rent, conferring on tenants security of tenure, and, eventually, ownership rights, imposing ceiling on agricultural holdings, distributing surplus land among the landless and the small holders and bringing about the consolidation of holdings."' The performance has been summed up as follows: ^The programmes which could have led to a radical change in the agrarian structure and the elimination of some of the elements of exploitation in the agrarian system and ushered in a measure of distributive justice were those of tenancy reform, ceiling on agricultural holdings and distribution of land to the landless and small holders.... These programmes cannot be said to have succeeded. Highly exploitative tenancy in the form of crop-sharing still prevails in large parts of the



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