Amending the West Bengal Land Reforms Act: Benefiting the Poor and Marginalized
Rural Development Institute Report No. 118
33 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2005
Date Written: May 2003
Over the past few decades, while land reform has made little headway in most of India, West Bengal has achieved notable land reform progress. This progress has occurred in three areas: the redistribution of agricultural land, the regulation of sharecropping relationships, and the distribution of homestead plots. Although one of the major factors contributing to West Bengal's land reform success in the post-Independence period has been its favourable legislative provisions spelled out in the Land Reforms Act, some modifications of the law would enhance the Act's positive impact on equitable distribution of land and agricultural production. In particular, we strongly recommend: (1) a provision that grants bargadars the unilateral right to assume ownership over a portion of the barga land they cultivate in exchange for giving up their barga rights on the remaining barga land; and (2) a requirement that all land distributed by the government be distributed in the joint names of husband and wife, or independently in the name of a woman.
Keywords: Land Reform, Property Rights, Bargadars, Rural Poverty, West Bengal
JEL Classification: Q15, K11, R00, J16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation