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Land Reform Measures in Assam

An Overview of Land Reform Measures in Assam

The question of Land Reforms was discussed at the highest political in the year 1949 and an Agrarian Reforms Committee was constituted with Shri J.C. Kumarappa as its chairman. The Agrarian Reforms Committee examined the question of Land Reforms in the Country in great depth and submitted its report in 1949. The main recommendation are as follows:-

  • Elimination of scope of exploitation of poor cultivators by rich land lord.
  • To inculcate in the minds of farmers a sense of self assertion.
  • Abolition of all intermediaries between the state and the tiller
  • Prohibition of subletting of land and transfer of agricultural land to non- agriculturalist.
  • The setting up of an administrative machinery with dedicated officers for proper implementation of land reforms measures.

Besides the basic recommendations mentioned above, the committee also suggested that a ceiling in the size of the agricultural holding which a farmer should own and cultivate should be found, because the supply of land in relation to landless cultivators was so limited that any agrarian reform without a ceiling on individual holding would be infuctuous.

Kumarappa’s recommendation had been given due importance by the State Govt. as all pieces of legislation passed by the State legislature since 1951 for land reforms have reflection of the same. In the light of the recommendation made by the first Agrarians Reforms Committee, the first five year plan had given priority on Agricultural Reforms mainly:

  • Abolition of intermediaries between the State & the tillers,
  • Tenancy Reforms to reduce rent, provide security of tenure and give cultivating tenants an opportunity to purchase the land from the owner,
  • Fixation of Ceiling on Land Holdings and the distribution of surplus land,
  • Improvement of the conditions of the agricultural workers, and co-operative organization for agriculture.

In setting out the above policy, emphasis was laid on social justice and highest priority was given to agricultural production.In the second five year plan, Land Reform measures were designed keeping in view of a balanced economic development and social justice. The objectives of land reforms were stated to be of two fold:-

  • To remove impediments upon agricultural production that arises from the character of the agrarian structure.
  • Secondly to create condition for evolving as speedily as possible, an agrarian economy with the highest level of efficiency and productivity.

In the interest of tenancy, stress was laid upon tenancy reforms like Abolition of intermediaries, security of tenure, resumption of personal cultivation, acquisition of ownership rights by tenants, regulation and distribution of land and size of holdings, consolidation of holdings (co-operative management etc.) were the formulated aims of land reforms.

Accordingly, the following Land Reforms Acts were enacted by the Govt:

  • The Assam State Acquisition of Zamindaries Act, 1951
  • The Assam State Acquisition of Lands belonging to Religious or Charitable Institutions of Public Nature Act, 1959
  • The Assam Fixation of Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, 1956
  • The Assam Consolidation of Holdings Act, 1960
  • The Assam Gramdan Act, 1961
  • The Assam Boodan Act, 1965.
  • The Assam (Temporarily Settled Areas) Tenancy Act, 1971.