Tenancy Reforms

The second a major plank of the land reforms envisaged was, therefore, concerned with tenancy legislations.  The political and economic conditions in different parts of India were so varied that nature of tenancy legislations passed by the different states and the manner of their implementation also varied a great deal.  Yet, there were commonly shared objectives of various legislations and over time some common broad features emerged in the manner of their implementations in most parts of the country.  Tenancy reforms had three basic objectives.  First, to guarantee security of tenure to tenants who had cultivated a piece of land continuously for fixed number of years, say six years (the exact number of years varied from region to region).  Second, to seek the reduction of rents paid by tenants to a fair level which was generally considered to range between one fourth and one sixth of the value of the gross produce of the leased land.  The third objective land he cultivated, subject to certain restrictions.  The tenants was expected to pay a price much below the market price, generally a multiple of the annual rent, say eight or ten years rent.  Tenancy legislation in India by and large south to maintain and balance between the interest of land owner, particularly the small land owner, and the tenant

The land owners right of resumption was limited (this was aimed of the large landowners) to his total holding after resumption not exceeding a certain limit or ceiling prescribed by each state the first plan suggested al limit of three times the “family holdings”.  The family holding inter alia, was defined as single plough unit.  Also, while resuming the land the lad deprived the tenant of his entire land.  In some states like Kerala, Orissa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the tenant has to be left with at least half his holdings.  In some other states like Bihar the floor was half the holdings of the tenant or a minimum of acres (in west Bengal 2.5 Acres) whichever was less.

It was recognized as the second plan noted, that, The economic circumstances of small owners are not so different from those of tenants that tenancy legislation should operate to their disadvantages. The therefore envisaged that very small landowners could resume their holding for self-cultivation. The third plan also pointed out the abuse of such provisions by large landowners transferring their lands in the names of a number of relatives and others so as to enter the category of small landowner and then evicting tenants from such lands by exercising the right of resumption given to small owners.