8.6 ndian onom
cost of the precious ecology and biodiversity—a of modern institutional factors to
new challenge. India needed a new kind of green agriculture, etc.
revolution which could deliver it the physical, (ii) The other objective of the land reforms
economic as well as ecological access to food— in India was related to the issue of socio-
the Second Green Revolution—an all-in-one economic inequality in the country.
approach towards the agriculture sector. The high inequality in land ownership
not only had a its negative economic
lAnd reForms impact on the economy; but it was badly
The official stance and emphasis on land reforms intertwined with the caste system in India
in India have been changing over the time in wake and the allocation of social prestige and
of the emerging issues, which may be seen in the status by the society at large.14 More
following two phases. than 80 per cent of the population from
its livelihood inherited the agrarian
PhAse-i system which had inequitable ownership
This phase commences just after Independence. of the asset, i.e., land to earn income.
All economies were agrarian before they The government wanted to go for a
were industrialised, only their periods vary. Once restructuring of land ownership in the
democratic systems developed, the first thing the economy on logical grounds and with
developed countries of today did was to complete public welfare approach. This objective of
the agrarian reforms in a time-bound way. As land reforms got enough socio-political
land remains the means of livelihood for the attention as it tried to dismantle the age-
larger section of society in an agrarian economy, old agrarian structure in the country. It
the successful completion of agrarian reforms became such a hot issue that land reforms
benefitted the maximum number of people in India got a ‘bad-name’, synonymous
thereby improving their economic conditions. to land-grabbing by the government and
At the time of Independence, India was a typical allotting them to the landless masses.
agrarian economy and had inherited a very
(iii) The third objective of land reforms
inequitable agrarian system. Land reforms will be
in India was highly contemporary in
a major plank of independent India and as part
nature, which did not get enough socio-
of the agrarian reforms it was made clear by the
political attention—it was the objective
pledge of the Indian National Congress in 1935
itself. Land reforms in India had three objectives of increasing agricultural production
similar to the other economies which opted for it for solving the inter-related problems
in the past: of poverty, malnutrition and food
(i) Removing institutional discrepancies insecurity.
of the agrarian structure inherited from To realise the objectives of land reforms, the
the past which obstructed increasing government took three main steps which had
agricultural production, such as, the size many internal sub-steps:
of agricultural holding, land ownership,
14. L.I. Rudolph and S.H. Rudolph, In Pursuit of Lakshmi:
land inheritance, tenancy reforms, The Political Economy of the Indian State (Bombay:
abolition of intermediaries, introduction Orient Longman, 1987), pp. 45–50.