Analysis on Land Reforms and a political process  

Land reform has been considered a political process and therefore many arguments exists in favour and against it. In this paper, we would like to analyse reforms implemented and how they positively and negatively impacted the country. We would also have a review of success or failure of these reforms and factors determining it. The paper shall also aims to suggest the amendments that might have made a reform a more favourable aspect for the country contributing to productivity raise, poverty eradication and to better agricultural development. Introduction Land reform includes redistribution of land from rich to poor, involving the change of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership.

It includes ownership regulation, operation, leasing and sales, and also inheritance of land. Moreover, it consist of a government-initiated or government-backed property redistribution, generally of agricultural land. Thus accounting for an ownership transfer from more powerful to less powerful. This transfer can be be with or without compensation which can vary from token amounts to the full value of land. There have been many economic, egalitarian, and political motives used to justify the need for redistributive land reforms. It assumes that for effective utilization of technology small farms are more efficient than larger farms as it may require less amount of supervision.

More so the social unrest also makes it more difficult in ascertaining the impact as the list of exogenous factors often tend to overpower the purely economic factors at play. In 20the century, land reforms emerged from communism and socialism, oriented with political ideology. Colonial governments changed the land reforms to distribute the lands better to support their colonial economy thus dictating ownerships to their colonized states. Hence the idea to empirically calculate the results from expected reforms is a key and to align constantly to the same. Major example for this would be China for which land reforms have remained a profitable business as compared to India, for which past 25 years land reforms in India have not been a sudden upliftment. Hence, land reforms programme has been a hoax or a total fiasco to substitute assertion for a detailed empirical examination which many changes gone unnoticed because of the absence of a down-to-earth approach in assessing these changes.

The most important argument lying in favour of land reform is equity. In a land-scarce country with a significant section of the rural population below the poverty line, everyone has access to some minimum amount of land seems compelling from this point of view providing a positive feedback to land reform.

Adding, incentive problems and imperfect property rights are the leading explanations for the distortions in the allocation of land. We can also frame that redistributive policies that fall short of full-scale land reform can also have positive productivity effects at the end. Thus, heterogeneity combined with the frictions may accentuate or mitigate the loss of efficiency. Though some of these strategies, such as regulation of tenancy, might have a negative effect from the point of view of reducing the incentive of landowners to lease out land Studying introduction of land reforms in countries Russia In the 20th century, the Russian Revolution introduced a major economic reform i.e., socialization of agriculture. It called the collective ownership of all land partly through state farming, but primarily via collective farming under state control. In 1917, Lenin recognized peasant’s desire for land and decreed all land as state property Landed estates were seized by peasants, resulting in approximately 25 million peasant holdings.

His government’s promotion of voluntary collectivization was ineffective, however, and after 1929 Stalin forced collectivization at an estimated cost of ten million lives. After World War II, the Eastern European nations implemented agricultural reforms following Soviet model. Since the collapse of Communist rule in Eastern Europe (1989–90) and the disintegration of the Soviet Union (1991), the movement of privatization of agriculture has proved to be a successful attempt with providing minimum land to all those who can and wanted to work. Philippines Land reforms were successfully implemented focusing the use of advanced varieties of seeds and fertilizers which had a positive effect for adoption of agricultural technology.

The success was laid onto the effect to the increased interest of tenants in their land due to the difference in rental value of land. China In 1949, China’s Communist revolution, started the wholesale transfer of land to small peasants, to the amalgation of peasant cooperatives into larger communities (1958). An attempt to establish socialist agriculture prior to mechanization, the communes were much criticized by the Soviet Union. They proved inefficient, causing stagnation in agricultural productivity, and China later abolished them. By 1980 China was rapidly returning land to individual smallholders and promoting market-oriented agriculture with marked success. Korea Land reform was utilized to decrease transaction costs (of tenancy negotiations) in order to improve the functioning of the tenancy system that demolished the tenancy system contributed positively to agricultural productivity. In Other Parts of the World In Japan, agrarian reforms began during the Meiji Restoration (1868–1912), where feudal fiefs and stipends were abolished.

After World War II, U.S. occupation forces supervised further land reform. As a result, by 1949 over 80% of Japan’s tenanted land were transferred from absentee landlords to tenant cultivators. In Asia, especially in such densely populated areas as the Indian subcontinent, agitation has been mainly for redistribution among landless laborers; for security of tenure; and for the elimination of middlemen, oppressive rents, and usurious interest. In India similar attempts as of Japan were tried but not had a very successful attempt In S Africa, where racial policies resulted in discriminatory land policies in Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, majority rule in the late 20th cent. led to pressure for land redistribution. In Zimbabwe, wholesale land redistribution resulted in near collapse of the country’s commercial agriculture when land was transferred from white to black farmers who had little farming experience and inadequate equipment.

Land reform proceeded more swiftly in Namibia and South Africa, resulting in greater frustration on the part of the landless but less significant decreases in agricultural production. Thus, it did prevail social unrest and violence. . Studying the land reforms in different countries did prevail a mixed end results where some countries like China gained exponentially from such reforms whereas the bad or incomplete implementation in Zimbabwe or South Africa had a negative impact economically.

Land reforms and redistribution of land did receive a lot of attention as an imperative policy. In India economy where majority of the population has their way of earning dependent on agriculture, such land reforms if implemented positively could change fortune for any political party. As a country that focuses on agriculture primarily on sustenance rather than earning, these reforms were introduced in order to change the choices for small and large farmers. Hence, the robust agri policy was something, which would have impacted the growth of Indian economy and the larger developmental goals.

This system was considered exploitative Abolition of intermediaries is aimed at curtailing the power of these large landowners and ensuring that the cultivator of land was in direct contact with the government, which minimized unjust extraction of surplus by the landowner. This was the measure that was accounted to be relatively successful Imposition of a ceiling on landholdings aimed to redistribute surplus land to the landless. Consolidation of landholdings ensures that small bits of land belonging to the same small landowner but situated at some distance from one another can be consolidated into one holding to boost productivity and viability. Issues to implement being variation in land quality across plots, and limited knowledge of cultivator. Kerala and West Bengal has been notable achievers being the left-wing administrations leading on high accuracy in implementation Short History Note Just after independence, many states in India added Zamindari Abolition Act. In states like Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar etc the surplus land of the landlords were seized by the states. By intermediary abolition of all types, nearly 2 crore tenants became owners of their own lands.

Hence tenure laws were updated and the reforms started showing positive results. Imposition of the land ceiling was another important step, which fixes the total amount of land that can be held by a family. This law not only fixes the ceiling but also mentioned the taking away of surplus land which later got distributed among landless farmers. This abolition was done to restrict the land holding by few. This reform also promoted the holding consolidations. It talks about the consolidations of small plots of land into a bigger piece. This was possible on purchase or exchange. In 1950, land consolidation program was initiated since the beginning of the First Five-year Plan. This program faced high resistance from the landowners, interpersonal disputes and weak land revenue administration. Small farmers and tenants feared that they would be evicted and become jobless due to farm mechanization facilitated by land consolidation.

As their tenancy rights were not legalized, the tenants were concerned about the security of their rights. Farmers were very hesitant to change the existing arrangements due to their strong sentimental attachment to land plots. Policy makers was to promote co-operative farming so that farmers can pool their lands and can gain from economies of scale which did not work as expected as co-operative farming has been running limited because of cultural issues and also limited knowledge per farmer which forced each one to grow what they know about which restricted the collaborations. In India, the study of land reforms efficiency has been poor and that can be realized by conflicted results realized from past studies. Below is one of the example of such study conducted, where these reforms aggregative are found to have a negative impact on the economy whereas there exist states which benefitted highly from these reforms implementation like West Bengal and Kerala. Study conducted Besley and Burgess used state-level data for the 16 major states in India from 1958 – 1992 and exploited the variation across states and to identify the effect of land reform on productivity and poverty. Findings from study: Generate a cumulative variable which aggregates the number of legislative reforms till date for every state They found that the lagged version of the extracted variable had a negative and significant effect on poverty.

Primarily, the negative impact was laid on tenancy reforms which tend to have a negative effect on agricultural productivity, targeting equity-efficiency trade-off. As per the study, abolition of intermediaries had a negative effect on poverty, and no effect on productivity. Imposing a ceiling on landholdings did not pay positive or negative effects. Land consolidation had positive effect on productivity but no effect on poverty Conclusions were made, about land reform not having any effect on distribution of land and seems to mainly focus on altering the contractual relations in agriculture. As a consequence, it was realized that the poorly implemented tenancy reform can have a net negative effect on productivity by freezing up the land lease market but also, can improve the productivity and income of some tenants. Considering the example of West Bengal and Kerala where land reforms have been considered as success, tenancy reforms were implemented thoroughly yielded very positive results. In both cases it was pushed forward by left-wing administrations.