Agricultural Legislation

Agrarian legislation falls mainly into following four categories.

  1. Abolition of intermediaries.

  2. Tenancy reforms.

  3. Ceilings on land holdings.

  4. Law relating to Gramdan and Bhoodan.

  1. Abolition of intermediaries:

    The intermediary system included various types of interests between the owner and actual cultivator. This varied from the absolute owner of the land that was the Zamindar in Bengal to the Inam - Holder, holding a grant of revenue in respect of plot of land. These intermediary interests took little interest in the development of agriculture through sustained investment, with the result agriculture remained stagnant and productivity deteriorated. In pursuance of the policy to protect actual cultivators and bring them to direct relationship with the State, each State formulated legislative measures for the abolition of such tenures by 1955. The implementation of these measures has been completed practically all over the country.

  2. Tenancy reforms:

    Major part of tenurial system in India is Rayatwari with no intermediary between the State and the actual holder. The Rayatwari System was prevalent, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. But even in Rayatwari areas, some of tenancy prevailed and lands were leased out to the actual cultivators. The land owners acted as moneylenders, leading to cumulative increase in the indebtedness of the tenants, who lost their property in lieu of loans they could not repay. This sort of situation called for necessary legislation to protect the interest of tenants. The measures were:-

    1. Security of tenure i.e. that the ejectment of tenant should not take place.

    2. Fixation of rent - 1/5 to 1/6 of gross produce.

    3. Right to purchase land.

    The most of the states have adopted the principle of conferring ownership on the tenants.

  3. Ceiling on agricultural holding:

    To achieve social justice, the redistribution of agricultural land in our rural area has been accepted as a policy by the States. To enable surplus land to be mopped up and distributed, legislative measures were passed in almost all the States to restrict the size of agricultural holdings. The ceiling limits varied from State to State. In Maharashtra, landholding were classified in four categories and ceiling limits were fixed accordingly.

    1. Fully unirrigated lands - 54 acres.

    2. Land irrigated from public sources of water only for one season at least for one crops -27 areas.

    3. Land irrigated from public sources of water for two seasons for two crops -18 acres.

    4. Land irrigated from public sources of water For three season (complete year) for annual Or perennial crops - 9 acres.

    It was estimated that on completion of implementation of this legislation about the lakhs hectares of land will become surplus for distribution among the landless persons.

  4. Bhoodan and Gramdan Act:

    The Bhoodan movement started in early 1950 spread all over the country as a movement to collect the donations of land for distribution among the landless. Acharya Vinoba Bhave initiated this movement to meet the challenges posed by the requirements of the landless people through the willing co-operation of rich landowners in the true Gandhian spirit (by labret). For this Special Act was passed. In all 18 lakh hectares of land was collected under this Act in various States.