[Agriculture] Agrarian Structure of Indian Society through the lenses of Land Reforms in India

History of Agricultural set up in India
Indian agriculture began in India in 9000 BCE.It is one of the main occupation in india at that time and even today it one of the main source of earning livelihood.

Vedic Period
The period also for the first time saw the domestication of animal elephant.Economy in the Rigvedic
period was sustained by agriculture and pastoralism. Agriculture dominated the economic activity,its operations became complex with use of iron implements like black metal. Crops like wheat,rice,barley were cultivated,

Later Vedic Period
During this period wide range of cereals, fruits, vegetables were cultivated.  Animal husbandry was also prevalent. Agriculture became much developed than the rigvedic period. Rice, wheat and barley was mainly cultivated. Cotton cultivation was in vogue. Various domesticated animals was used in ploughing.

Indus Valley Civilisation
During this time though agriculture was important for their livelihood but to some extent people were engaged in various other types of trade in order to earn their livelihood. Indus people used to keep cattles, goats, pigs, sheeps for food. Farmers grew fruits such as dates, grapes, melons and also wheat and peas.

Middle Ages-Early Modern Era (1200-1757AD)
  The Tamil people cultivated a wide range of crops such as rice, sugarcane, millets, black pepper, various grains, coconutsbeans, cotton, plantaintamarind and sandalwood.  Jackfruit, coconut, palmareca and plantain trees were also known.  Systematic ploughing, manuring, weeding, irrigation and crop protection was practiced for sustained agriculture.

Portugese introduced the cultivation of tobacco. The Malabār Coast was the home of spices, especially black pepper, that had stimulated the first European adventures in the East. Coffee had been imported from Abyssinia and became a popular beverage in aristocratic circles by the end of the century. Tea, which was to become the common man's drink and a major export, was yet undiscovered, though it was growing wild in the hills of Assam.

Land management was particularly strong during the regime of Akbar the Great (reign: 1556-1605), under whom scholar-bureaucrat Todarmal formulated and implemented elaborated methods for agricultural management on a rational basis. Indian crops—such as cotton, sugar, and citric fruits—spread visibly throughout North AfricaIslamic Spain, and the Middle East.

Colonial British Era – Republic of India (1757-1947)
Few Indian commercial crops like opium, cotton, indigo and rice made it to the global market under British raj in India. Due to increase in the production of agricultural crops were seen in the 19th century, canals were built.

After independence India focused on agriculture in order to become self sufficient in providing food to its people.  Special programs were undertaken to increase the supply of food supply. A milestone in Indian history in order to improve the food production was the introduction of the Green Revolution in the year 1960. This helped to make India a self sufficient country with increasing GDP growth. Even India’s export and import increased through the agriculture.

Later many developments took place in order to strengthen the sector of agriculture like constituting NABARD,Council of agricultural research, National Dairy Development Board, etc.

Land Reforms in India


Land Reforms in India is done mainly help the poor farmers and land holders to get rid of various difficulties like abolishing land tenure system,ceiling on land holding, distribution of surplus land, consolidation of holdings, compilation of land records.The main aim for introducing land reforms in India in order to save the poor and landless poors from being exploited in land relations, empowerment of women to ensure greater access to land and abolishing gender bias in land legislation.

What’s the need of land reforms:
The need of land reforms in India can be felt if we quickly take a look at the history of land reforms which took place after independence in India-
1.Government came up with the land reforms in the first five year plan started  in 1951.
2. In the second five year plan the abolition of intermediaries took place in order to give protection to the tenants.
3. The second five year plan categorically ruled out the procedure of land ceiling. The plan proposed that the ceiling of the holding should be fixed at about three family holdings.
4. Abolition of Zamindars and other intermediaries (jagirdars, inamdars, malgujars, etc) between the state and the cultivator.
5. A high powered committee in 1948 with J.L.Nehru as its Chairman recommended that all intermediaries should be replaced by non-profit making agencies like cooperatives..

National Land Reforms Policy

This policy focuses on those aspects of land reforms which if implemented in true letter and spirit will have the potential to tilt the balance in favour of the landless and poor.

Recognising the need for land among the poorer sections of the society, many S tate Governments had come up with land distribution programmes to facilitate land ownership for the poor.

In addition to the govt. lands, other categories of land like the ceiling surplus lands, bhoodan lands etc.were also distributed to the landless poor for cultivation purposes.

In order to provide homestead land, minimum agricultural land, and shelter to every family, it is essential that a land pool is created.

Evict ineligible encroachers of government lands, ceiling surplus and bhoodan lands and distribute to the landless poor.

Every state should revise its ceiling limits, if the existing limit is more than 5-10 acres in the case of irrigated land and 10-15 acres for non- irrigated land.

States shall adopt single window system for re- distribution of ceiling surplus land within a specified time frame.

There is an urgent need to re- visit the land ceiling limits in different categories. Excluding the achievements of some States like West Bengal, Kerala, and J& k.

Impact Of Land Reforms 

End of feudalism, feudal land owning classes.
Updation of land records.
The land reforms in India have led to emergence of a class of modern entrepreneurs of farmers.
It has reduced the exploitation of tenants and income of the small farmers.

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