Amending the West Bengal Land Reforms Act: Benefiting the Poor and Marginalized

Rural Development Institute Report No. 118

33 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2005

See all articles by Tim Hanstad

Tim Hanstad

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics

Jennifer Brown

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: May 2003

Abstract

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

Hanstad, Tim and Brown, Jennifer, Amending the West Bengal Land Reforms Act: Benefiting the Poor and Marginalized (May 2003). Rural Development Institute Report No. 118, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=826684

Tim Hanstad (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Jennifer Brown

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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