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Q4. State the objectives and measures of land reforms in India. Discuss how land ceiling policy on landholding can be considered as an effective reform under economic criteria. (Answer in 150 words) 10

Q4. State the objectives and measures of land reforms in India. Discuss how land ceiling policy on landholding can be considered as an effective reform under economic criteria. (Answer in 150 words) 10



Land reforms in India play a vital role in its economy by enhancing land productivity, alleviating poverty, redistributing land ownership more equitably, safeguarding tenant farmers from exploitation, enabling landholders to boost agricultural and economic development, and preserving tribal lands from external encroachment.




Objectives of land reforms in India:

  • Redistribute land from large landowners to landless or marginal farmers. This aims to reduce land concentration and promote social justice.
  • To protect the rights of tenants and sharecroppers by providing them with security of tenure and fair rent.
  • To consolidate fragmented land holdings to make agriculture more efficient.
  • Abolition of intermediaries: it sought to eliminate intermediaries like landlords and moneylenders who exploited farmers.
    • This was done through the abolition of intermediaries’ rights in land.
  • To establish accurate and updated land records and provide land titles to landholders.

Measures of land reforms in India:

  • The Agricultural Land (Ceiling and Holding) Act of 1960 was enacted by the Indian Parliament to incentivize and encourage states to implement land reforms at the state level.
  • State Abolition of Intermediaries Act: Several states in India enacted the Abolition of Intermediaries Acts to eliminate intermediaries, such as landlords and moneylenders, who often exploited farmers.
    • g. Bihar Zamindari Abolition Act (1948).
  • Tenancy Acts were enacted to protect the rights of tenants and sharecroppers. These special acts provided security of tenure and ensured fair rent for tenants.
    • Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act of 1948 in Maharashtra.
  • The Bhoodan Movement: commenced in 1951 under the leadership of Acharya Vinoba Bhave. In this movement, landowners altruistically contributed their land holdings with the noble intent of alleviating landlessness among marginalized sections of society.

A land ceiling is a policy that limits the amount of land that an individual or corporation can own. The purpose of a land ceiling is to prevent the concentration of land ownership in the hands of a few people or entities.


Land ceiling policy on landholding as an effective reform under economic criteria:

  • Equitable distribution of land: Land ceiling policies promote equitable land distribution by curbing excessive land ownership ensuring that more people have access to land for cultivation. For instance, Kerala and West Bengal had successful land ceilings.
  • Increased agricultural productivity: Larger, consolidated plots allow for economies of scale, efficient use of machinery, and improved farm management practices.
    • For instance, In Haryana, land ceiling laws led to the consolidation of land holdings.
  • Increased income generation: Redistributing excess land to landless and marginal farmers through land ceiling policies significantly enhances their income and economic well-being, stimulating rural economic growth, as seen in West Bengal.
  • Reduced tenancy exploitations: Land ceiling policies indirectly benefit tenants by reducing the power of large landowners. When land holdings are capped, tenants can negotiate fairer terms and rents, improving their economic conditions.
    • g. Tamil Nadu.
  • Investment: Land ceiling policies in Punjab (Punjab Land Reforms Act, 1972) spurred investment, mechanization, and modern farming, boosting agricultural output and prosperity.


Despite having implementation challenges, land reforms have played an important role in India’s development. They have helped to reduce rural poverty, improve agricultural productivity, and promote social justice.