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Land Reform Measures in Assam

Objectives of Land Reform Measures in Assam

Land Reform denotes agrarian reforms, primarily reforms of land tenure system and re-organisation of agrarian structure in general. Agrarian reforms involve the re-organisation of the agrarian structure involving the transformation of rural life and activities. Land reforms closely linked with land records have been on the national agenda [of rural reconstruction for a long time, since independence.

On the recommendation of the land reforms committee constituted in 1949 under the chairmanship of J.C. Kumarappa, the Planning Commission stressed the importance on the land reforms, various land reform measures have been implemented during the successive Five Year Plan periods. It is (land reforms) included in the Ninth Schedule of the Indian Constitution as per provision of Article 31 (B), so that the various Land Reforms Acts are not challenged in the Court.

Enanctment of various Land Reform Acts and framing of rules:

  • The Assam State Acquisition of Zamindaries Act, 1951

    This Act was promulgated for acquisition of Zamindaries in the permanently settled estate of erstwhile Goalpara and Karimganj District of Assam, on payment of Compensation to the owners with a view to eliminate the intermediaries and bringing the tenants directly under the State by conferring better rights over their land.

  • The Assam Land Holding (Adoption on Relationship under Assam Land and Revenue Regulation, 1886 in the acquired Permamnently Settled Estates) Act, 1974.

    With the repeal of the Goalpara Tenancy Act, 1929 and consequent upon the acquisition of Zamindaries and intermediaries under the provisions of the Assam State Acquisition of Zamindaries Act, 1951, persons holding land under another in the erstwhile permanently settled areas became tenant as defined in the Assam (Temporarily Settled Areas) Tenancy Act, 1971.

  • The Assam Acquisition of Land belonging to Religious and Charitable Institution of Public Nature Act, 1959

    The Act provides for abolition of intermediaries and acquisition of surplus held by satras, maths, dargahs and such other religious and charitable institutions. The surplus lands are acquired on payment of compensation. But certain areas with building under the possession of the institutions, area for orchard and flower garden together with the compound belongings and the residential area for residential devotee are retained for them and held free of revenue.

  • (a). The Assam (Temporarily Settled Areas) Tenancy Act, 1971

    The Act was a revolutionary one which brought about remarkable change not only for confirming the rights of the tenants over their lands but also for the elimination of intermidiaries and acquisition of Ownership Rights by the Tenants.

    (b). The Assam (Temporarily Settled Areas) Tenancy Rules, 1972

    The Rules were framed in order to carry out the purpose and objectives of the Assam (Temporarily Settled Areas) Tenancy Act, 1971.

  • (a). The Assam Fixation of Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, 1956 (as amended)

    The Act (as amended) was one of the most important and progressive act in the field of agrarian reforms in Assam. It was enacted for fixation of Ceiling on agricultural land and distibution of Surplus Land. The amendment made in 1975 reduced ceiling limit of land holding upto 50 bighas and additional holding of maximum 4 bighas for having orchard.

    No person shall be entitled to held ,as owner or tenant, land for special cultivation of Tea in excess of land as has been used for special cultivation of tea and the purpose ancillary thereto on the day of commencement of the Act (amended Act of 1970) came into force. State Government may also allow more lands to be held for ancillary purposes like areas needed for rotational plantation, seedbari, nurseries, dispensaries, playground etc. and for bamboo baries (but not exceeding 50 bighas).

    (b). The Assam Fixation of Ceiling on Land Holdings Rules, 1957

    The Rules were framed in order to carry out the purpose and objectives of the Assam Fixation of Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, 1956 (as amended).

  • The Urban Land Ceiling Act, 1976 (since repealed) A central Act for imposition of Ceiling on vacant land in urban agglomeration, for the acquisition of such land in excess of the ceiling limit and to bring about equitable distribution of land in urban agglomeration to subserve the common good and to regulate the construction of building on such land, was enacted. (The Act was adopted by the Assam State Legislative Assembly on 15th March, 1976 and was repealed in 1999).
  • The Consolidation of Holdings Act, 1960.

    The Act was intended to provide for consolidation or re-organisation of holding oin any area among several tenure holders in such a way as to make the holding more compact. It was intende for prevention of fragmentation of agricultural holdings and for augmenting agricultural productivity.

  • The Assam Gramdan Act, 1961 and the Assam Bhoodan Act, 1965

    The Acts aim at facilitating donation of land as Gramdan and Bhoodan in pursuance of the movement initiated by Acharya Binova Bhave and a simplified legal procedure for transfer and management of land in Gramdan Villages. The objectives of the Acts are:-

    (a). Redistribution of lands donated by the land holders to the ladless people in case of Bhoodan.

    (b). All round development in the Gramdan Villages under the aresa of Gram Sabhas.

  • Rural House Site Scheme

    The aim of the Scheme was to provide house sites to the poorer section of people below poverty line belonging to rural landless workers who have no house sites of their own. The land alloted per family is from 1/2 to 1 bigha. The financial assistance given under this Scheme is Rs.2,500/- per family per site (for construction and development) at present, but it depends on Government's decision.

  • (a). The Karbi Anglong District (Lnad Reforms ) Act, 1979.

    An Act to provide for regulation and control of use of agricultural land owned by the settlement holder in the district of Karbi Anglong.

    (b). The Karbi Anglong District (Land Reforms) Rules, 1981

    The rules are framed for the purpose of carrying out the different provisions under the different sections of the Karbi Anglong (Land Reforms) Act, 1979.

It is evident from above that the major component of land reforms have been the abolition of intermediary tenures, tenancy reforms, confirment of Ownership Right upon the Tenant, acquisition distribution of Ceiling Surplus Land, distribution of Govt. Waste Land under M.N.P. House site scheme, receipt and distribution of Bhoodan land, amalgamation on consolidation of land holding scheme.