Thursday, September 02, 2010

Land Reforms in Andhra Pradesh

Land Reforms were introduced in late 60's, and different states implemented at various times between late 60's and 70's. In most of the states (may be in all the states), the way they implemented was really bad for all the landlords.

This act caused lot of problems to many people in Andhra Pradesh. The surprising thing for me was, P.V.Narasima Rao (Who started economic reforms in India) was the main person who implemented major part in Andhra Pradesh.

When this act came into rule, effective that day, a family was allowed to have only certain limit of the land. If any family had more than the limit, that was taken over by the government and given it to the poor people who did not have land. All the land transactions and divorce cases in the last 6 months were reviewed, and in many cases, they cancelled those transactions, and did not consider those. (Few people had taken divorce for the name sake, so that, they become two families, and hence can keep extra land.)

If the government does not want one person having huge land, then they should have given enough notice to all the people who have more than a limit to sell the land to others before the reasonable deadline. If they don't sell the land before the deadline, then the land can be taken over by the government. But, government did not do it, and they had done it in (almost) retrospective.

The way, they implemented was so bad that, it caused many problems in the state. There were many families who had bought land just before the act came into rule by taking loan. After this act came into rule, the government had taken over the excess land. To repay the loan, they had to sell the remaining land they had, and finally end up losing everything. Many families collapsed because of this act.

In those days, if the land owner dies, then the legal heirs were not pro-active in registering the land with their names. Because of that, according to the documents, the land belongs to someone who had died 20 years back. But, if they were pro-active in registering, now, the same land may belong to 5-6 people. If the government goes according to the documents, and if the land crosses the ceiling limit, the government will take over the excess land. If the government allows the legal heirs to register with their names, then there may not be any excess land.

After the government took over the excess land from others, it distributed evenly to all the poor people who did not have land. Because of the distribution to everyone evenly, the land that everyone got was very less (may be in the order of 10 cents (0.1 acre) or so). Farming anything less than 2 acres of land is unproductive. The farmer cannot live on land less than 2 acres. The expenditure for farming is very huge for small land when compared to the returns. When the government distributed the land to the poor people, nobody's life got changed because of that (may be except those who sold their land unofficially and got enough money to live for sometime).

After the government brought this rule, many people went to courts, and lawyers became very prosperous. The government spent more money in implementing the ceiling act (including the court cases) than the value of the land that it got.

Eventhough government knew these things before itself, but, changing any of those would have been suicidal for the political party. So, they went ahead with their plans to save their party and finally destroyed many families and made big loss to the state.

The insider written by P.V.Narasimha Rao is an inspired life story of P.V.Narasimha Rao from his birth till 1973 (When his term finished as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh). Apart from the general politics during that time, it dealt mainly with the land reforms. He wrote this book after his retirement from politics (after he implemented free-market economics). Still, he wrote that book as a supporter of the land reforms. On a side note, his close friend Aruna in his book was Lakshmi Kanthamma.

Asalem Jarigindante written by P.V.R.K.Prasad (Secretary to P.V.Narasimha Rao, when he was C.M. of A.P as well as when he was P.M.) also has few articles about land reforms. Most of the above points are taken from that book only.

1 comment:

  1. Reminds me of the Nazis, glad that such socialist policies are fading away