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Land Reforms Programmes

This topic contains the information related to Land Reforms Programmes of India

Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement Act, 2013

  • The Act provides for land acquisition as well as rehabilitation and resettlement. It replaces the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.
  • The process for land acquisition involves a Social Impact Assessment survey, preliminary notification stating the intent for acquisition, a declaration of acquisition, and compensation to be given by a certain time. All acquisitions require rehabilitation and resettlement to be provided to the people affected by the acquisition.
  • Compensation for the owners of the acquired land shall be four times the market value in case of rural areas and twice in case of urban areas.
  • In case of acquisition of land for use by private companies or public private partnerships, consent of 80 per cent of the displaced people will be required. Purchase of large pieces of land by private companies will require provision of rehabilitation and resettlement.
  • The provisions of this Act shall not apply to acquisitions under 16 existing legislations including the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005, the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, the Railways Act, 1989, etc.
For the complete Act, click here.

Distribution of ceiling surplus land

  • With the introduction of land ceiling legislation in 1972, ceiling on land holdings was introduced in 19 States and 3 Union Territories. The 1972 National guidelines recommended ceiling limits ranging from 10-18 acres for irrigated land with two crops, 27 acres for irrigated land with one crop and 54 acres for dryland.
  • In pursuance of point No. 5A of the 20-Point Programme of the Govt. of India, the Land Reforms Division fixes annual targets for actual distribution of ceiling surplus land and brings out Quarterly Progress Report on the basis of figures received from States/UTs. The Govt. of India have issued Guidelines based on the recommendations of the Chief Ministers’ Conference held in 1972 for distribution of ceiling surplus land to the rural poor including SCs/STs. The State Governments/UT Administration are also distributing Govt. Wastelands and Bhoodan Lands to the rural poor.

Govt. Wastelands and bhoodan lands

  • Distribution of Government’ Wastelands has been one of the key strategies of land reforms in the Country. It has been the accepted policy of the Central Government that wastelands at the disposal of the State Governments should be distributed amongst eligible rural poor. The criteria governing the distribution of ceiling surplus land should also apply to the distribution of wasteland. So far, an area of 147.47 lakh acres of Government Wastelands has been distributed amongst landless rural poor. Out of a total area of 39.16 lakh acres of Bhoodan land, 21.75 lakh acres have been distributed.

Confirmation of ownership rights to tenants

  • Legislative provisions have been made in many areas of the country for conferment of ownership rights on tenants or allowing cultivating tenants to acquire ownership rights on payment of compensation. Some of the States have acquired ownership of land from landowners and transferred it to tenants. Sub-tenancies are generally prohibited all over the country except in certain cases, viz., widows, members of Armed Forces, minors, unmarried women, persons suffering from disabilities etc.
  • As per information received from States, 125.86 lakh tenants have got their rights protected over an area of 167.14 lakh acres.

Consolidation of land holding

  • Consolidation of fragmented agricultural land holdings forms an integral part of the Land Reform Policy and Five Year Plans have accordingly been laying stress on its implementation. This operation is considered necessary for planned development of villages and achieving efficiency and economy in agriculture. In pursuance of this, many States had enacted legislations but not much progress could be made except in the States of U.P, Haryana and Punjab. In other States, work was continued for some years and lost momentum thereafter. In the State of Uttar Pradesh, even now annually about 900 to 1000 villages are being covered under this activity.
  • Consolidation of holdings refers to amalgamation and redistribution of fragmented land to bring together all plots of land of a cultivator in one compact block. On account of growing pressure of population on land and limited opportunities for work in the non-agricultural sector, there is increasing trend towards sub-division and fragmentation of land holdings in the country. The average size of holding is already very low and there are no economies of scale. Fragmentation leads to additional diseconomies due to wastage of time and money on the movement of physical and human inputs from one farmstead to another. Besides, it makes the task of irrigation management, land improvement and personal supervision of different plots very difficult.
  • Increasing pressure of population on land has led to increase in the number of fragments per farm. Forcible land distribution has led to fragmentation of holdings and productivity has not improved much.it has been duly emphasized in five year plans that consolidation of holdings should form an integral part of the agricultural development programme.

Prevention of alienation and restoration of alienated tribal land

  • Article 46 of the constitution places an obligation upon States to promote the interests of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation. There is a major concentration of tribal population in Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and West Bengal apart from the north eastern States.
  • State government has accepted the policy of prohibiting transfer of land from Tribals to non-tribals and restoration of alienated land to tribals. States with large tribal populations have enacted laws prohibiting alienation of tribal lands and promoting restoration of alienated land. Though results have been forthcoming in efforts undertaken by different States for restoration of tribal lands, the task is yet to be completed.

Source: Department of Land Resources, Ministry of Rural Development

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