Social Scientist. v 8, no. 96 (July 1980) p. 46.

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Land and Credit Reforms in India


THE desirability of land redistribution is underscored by several government and semi-government agencies in India. But there has been almost a total failure of the government in this regard. The Planning Commission and the Raj Krishna Committee on land reforms have pointed out that on 3 July 1977, the total "estimated surplus area" (by state governments) in the country was only 5.39 million acres (against the Planning Commission's estimate of 21.5 million acres), the area "declared surplus" was 4.04 million acres, the area "taken over" by the government 2.10 million acres, and the area actually distributed just 1.29 million acres to 0.88 million beneficiaries.1

The absence of policy-induced change in the ownership of agricultural landholdings is clearly revealed by a comparison of the distribution of land in 1954-55, 1960-61 and 1970-71. Table I shows the distribution of households and area owned by them arranged in three size classes —poor peasants, small farmers and the well-to-do farmers. The wealthiest class of farmers, including those affected by the ceiling laws, owned 67 percent of total area in 1954-55. The area owned by this class declined to 61 percent in 1960-61 and 54 percent of the total area in 1970-71. This is commensurate with the growth in rural households. According to the

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